1. Flipdarkfuture
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    Flipdarkfuture Member

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    Whats the best way to show a flashback?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Flipdarkfuture, Dec 22, 2011.

    I've included a flashback in the second chapter of my continuation fic for Fallout New Vegas.

    But I'm not sure if this is the way to portray it.

    An old legionnaire shouted at the throngs of recruits "Get moving scum! Everything needs to be ready for the Legate's arrival!" he pinched his nose in frustration as two clumsy Legionnaires knocked over a whetstone. He stomped over towards the two, to their credit they didn't whimper when they saw him, they just stood up and snapped to attention.

    They stared straight ahead, not daring to move a single muscle, "Etiam Triplicarius!" they used the proper greeting from a private to a Triplicarius.

    He scowled "What the hell is going on here, worms?"

    The one on the left straightened even further and answered "Sir! A simple mishap caused by myself and Miles Kranus!", the gruff veterean spoke again, his voice a low menacing growl "Clean this up or I will personally shove a javelin up both of your asses! Maybe I should pick out the dark mother tips for it!"

    Kranus remembered their first meeting with Triplicarius Septim.

    The stars twinkled brilliantly above fortification hill. Legionnaire's of all colours, sizes and ranks milled about, some fixed their weapons, others kept to a strict training regime, others just walked about the camp, talking, laughing, joking.

    One such group of Legionnaire's huddled around a campfire, enraptured by the tall and most likely false tales of an old Legionnaire, a veteran frumantarius by the name of Tullius.

    he flailed his hands about, mimicing the slashing movements of a Deathclaw.

    "It made a grab for me! But I was too quick, I dodged to the side and, with extreme skill I might add, took it down using my last throwing spear. It fell with a crash! I quickly pulled out my fifteen other spears from its hide before the rest of its pack got to me. A baby lunged at me first, its claws were as big as my head, even at that age! I ducked to the side and kicked it away, just in time for its mother to charge towards me, its mouth open, it was like looking into a pitch black maw I tell ya. I flashed a smug grin and pulled the pin on my lone grenade, it seemed to be guided towards the mother's mouth, as if by the hand of Caesar himself. I kicked the Mother in its chest, sending it tumbling back towards its pack and started running. And then..."

    "And then what?" a small boy asked, a Legionnaire in training.

    The old Vet seemed to pause dramatically. The crowd of young ones and recruits leaned in expectantly.

    With a explosive shout the old coot yelled "BOOM! Blood and guts everywhere, an eyeball landed on my nose even! And that is how I saved the village of Dry Log."

    The crowd of young boys cheered and laughed as the Old Man fell quiet, he had a satisfied look on his old face.

    A shadow fell over the group as a silent figure stepped into the firelight, a rugged and tough face they saw, with one grey eye piercing through them like they were nothing. The other eye was hidden behind a black eyepatch. His suit of salvaged power amour gleamed in the firelight, his armour was painted in charcoal and crimson, the colours of the Legion. A red light glowed softly, emanating from the visor of his helmet, held by his right arm.

    Some of the young ones dove behind the older recruits, not wanting to been seen by the monster.

    a deep rumble was heard from the intimidating figure, sounding like a storm from the divide to the recruits, but to Tullius it was a chuckle.

    Tullius nodded his head "Triplicarius Septim, what brings you here on this fine night?", the golden medals on his lapel gleamed in the light, catching the attention of a few young ones.

    Septim walked towards the group, his armour's joints grinding slightly as they worked.

    "Not one of your stories again is it?" his voice was gruff and deep, the Frumantarius shrugged. He moved towards the circle, stopping just behind two recruits in their late teens. He loomed over them like a great shadow.

    The one next to his left boot gulped nervously, the other one just kept a steely gaze towards the fire.

    "What are your names, recruits?" he asked them.

    The one on the left answered first "Re-re-re-" he closed his eyes, focusing. He opened them "Recruit Leo sir!" he answered.

    "And you?" directing his question to the one on the right"

    The youth picked up a stick and absent mindedly poked at the fire, he answered Septim "Recruit Kranus sir."


    Do I seperate it from the rest of the chapter with some divider lines? Or do I just leave it with a italic font?
     
  2. Manav
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    Manav Contributing Member

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    Make these two paragraphs into one, and you are fine. No need to use italics for the flashback. The first sentence makes it clear we are in the flashback. For even more clearity, you may use past perfect tense for the flashback.... "The stars had twinkled brilliantly....."

    I believe the second portion of dialogue is spoken by Triplicarius... you need to have it as a seperate paragraph. The rule is--new paragraphs for every new speaker. The paragraph is a punctuation mess at the moment.
     
  3. Makeshift
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    Makeshift Active Member

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    I don't think I've ever seen italics used for flashbacks, at least not in a published work. Usually it is sufficient to just start a new paragraph and trust that your readers will understand it's a flashback. If you underline it too much, readers will feel like the writer is underestimating their intelligence. I've read a lot of works that move from one timeline to another and usually it's not hard to follow, if it is, perhaps the prose should be rewritten. Like the previous guy said, using the perfect past tense could be a good idea, though not necessary. In your example, the flashback was clear.
     
  4. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    do NOT use italics... it's not necessary and is very annoying to read in large doses... save them only for foreign words or a word that really needs to be emphasized...

    your wording should be enough to let the readers know it's a flashback...
     
  5. Flipdarkfuture
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    Flipdarkfuture Member

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    Okay no Italics it is. Should I at least seperate it from the present with some divider lines?
     
  6. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    just with a normal 'line break' [hit 'enter' and place a single # in the center of the line, hit 'enter' again and start typing], the same as you'd do for a time/location/character switch...
     

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