Tags:
  1. Flint
    Offline

    Flint New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2008
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    0

    Looking Back / Thoughts - How Long A Text

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Flint, Oct 31, 2008.

    Hello Everyone

    I am looking for some tips / guidance on what is OK re the main character reflecting on some past adventure.

    I am part way through a chapter and the protagonist is lying on the setee and current events evoke thoughts of previous events of a very similar nature. So the text all flows naturally, but now I've started I can see her thoughts running on for 4 to 6 paragraphs or so ... like a little mini-story aside from the main events in the Chapter.

    The content of her thoughts / previous events give validity to what happens next and so it seems the best place for it to appear.

    In real life, we would not go over a previous event (while lying on the setee) as fully as I am in my story, so is it giving my story an element of non-belief?

    I know it's difficult for you to answer without reading the chapter etc but I'm hoping others may have come across a similar problem or read guidance on same?

    In summary, I'm asking ... for how many paragraphs is it acceptable to deviate from the main story by the main character reflecting back on previous similar events in her life (which do support how / what she does next).

    Many Thanks in Anticipation
    Flint
     
  2. Dcoin
    Offline

    Dcoin Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2008
    Messages:
    279
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    NYC
    I have noticed that when I explore backplots, they tend to become information dumps. I think this happens because unlike my regular writing I feel I don't enough lines to fully develop the backplot.

    So, how long? Long enough where its not a sprint to get as much info on to the page as you can.
     
  3. Kylie
    Offline

    Kylie Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2008
    Messages:
    273
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    America
    Possibly, but not necessarily. Is it important for the MC to be lying on the sette while having a flashback?
    In some books, flashbacks are every other chapter. In others, it's not included at all. It depends on what's necessary. Personally, I don't like reading flashbacks, but if I had to read one- I'd prefer it be quick and straight to the point.
     
  4. Flint
    Offline

    Flint New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2008
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    0
    Kylie, thanks

    Yes, good idea, I'll have it so the MC is not (just) lying on the setee, but is exploring past events in her mind (rather than a flashback) in order to try and find some link for her behaviour.

    I've only started writing (as in stories) last week and it's great! I have something interesting to think about all the time now, and look at everyday events with a view to 'twisting' them into my plot etc.

    Cheers
    Flint
     
  5. tehuti88
    Offline

    tehuti88 Contributing Member

    Joined:
    May 13, 2008
    Messages:
    642
    Likes Received:
    6
    Location:
    Michigan
    I wouldn't worry about the character's more complete thoughts giving a feeling of unbelief (seeing as most people don't think in complete sentences and scenes and such); it's fiction, so naturally many things are not done the exact same way as in reality. Dialogue in fiction isn't the same as in real life; plot isn't the same; so of course thoughts aren't, either. The writer translates such things to make them more sensible and readable. In a story, a person remembering events like they're scenes from another story is just fine.

    But I too have to caution you not to carry it on too far or make it an "infodump" (i. e., just sitting there telling, in a boring way, all the stuff that has gone before). You'll have to find a way to keep it interesting--show it to the reader through the character's thoughts and memories, rather than have the character just tell everything.

    Regarding how exactly you do this, or how long it goes on for, those are subjective things, matters of opinion, and you can only find out by trying it for yourself. Good luck either way.
     
  6. Cogito
    Offline

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    35,935
    Likes Received:
    2,043
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    I'd keep flashbacks short, and incomplete, if I were using flashbacks at all. Always pose more questions than answers in a flashback or similar expository device.
     
  7. Flint
    Offline

    Flint New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2008
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hey Each, thanks so much for your time in replying and the useful guidance.

    The flashback started off as brief (ish) but I couldn't stop myself developing it into a good sub-plot. It happened 16 years earlier; I guess I could develop it more as Chapter 1, then have Ch.2 as '16 years later' but the current Ch.1 is the more logical and gripping start point.

    It's not turning into an 'info dump', but I'll keep it to 3 or 4 paras nonetheless.

    Cheers
    Flint
     

Share This Page