1. masterjasco
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    masterjasco New Member

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    query on flashback writing

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by masterjasco, Jun 22, 2010.

    does anyone know if you should keep flashbacks in italics if there is more than one scene? i am writing a flashback for a meeting between two characters, but there is another character who witnesses the meeting and i wanted to write his story of what he was up to when he saw it. so should it all be in italics or do i just write it as normal??????
     
  2. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    I'd write it as normal. Your aim as a writer should be that typographical quirks such as italics can be done without. You should be able to make your writing clear enough that the reader can understand they're reading a flashback, without itallics overtly telling them so.
     
  3. Manav
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    Manav Contributing Member

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    Italics for flashbacks will be amateurish. DON'T use it.
     
  4. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Resist the temptation to use italics as a Swiss Army Knife for writing. There are specific instances that call for italics, and they are few indeed! Learn them, and don't use italics for anything else.
     
  5. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    ditto all of the above... in spades!
     
  6. masterjasco
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    masterjasco New Member

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    thanks
     
  7. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    If I absolutely must have a flashback, I try and keep it really short, and like an action scene so the reader doesn't feel like s/he can skip past it.

    A flashback should come at a suitable moment, I mean, not breaking into a gripping present scene--there is nothing more irritating than that. I don't think flashbacks should come too early on in a novel, either. Not in the first chapter, anyway.

    You need to set it up with a cue, or 'trigger' to the flashback--exactly what makes the character suddenly go off down memory lane? After that, the reader will need a couple of tenses in past perfect, to indicate clearly that you have moved back in time. Then you can continue the scene in past simple. When you are coming out of the flashback again, you'll need a few more past perfect sentences to signal you are wrapping it up.

    If you present the flashback at a good place, in a suitable way, there is no need for any italics. I think they are such a cheap device.
     

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