1. A.M. Rousso

    A.M. Rousso New Member

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    Past and present

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by A.M. Rousso, Mar 23, 2017.

    Hello!
    I'd like your opinion please because some of you have more experience than me in the writing department.
    So...I'm in the middle of my book but something is troubling me.
    It's 2Pov and it has to do with my H/h present and some of their past together.
    Until yesterday night, I wrote every chapter based on their present and some memories they have from their past. The thing is that their past is the solution to their today's 'problem'.
    So, is it better to write different chapters with the past and different with the present or I can 'mix' them together?

    If I don't decide I can't write the rest of my story even though I know how it continues and how it ends. I'm a little OCD.

    Thank you!

    P.S. Please don't count how many times I wrote the words present and past because they are plenty. :)
     
  2. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man or BayView

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    Do you mean you're including flashbacks - whole scenes where we travel into the past and watch events that happened before the present time in the book? Or are you just peppering in a few sentences of backstory here and there (e.g. "Jane remembered the first time they had kissed, five years ago.")?

    I assume flashbacks, since you wouldn't put a few sentences in a chapter of their own. Flashbacks are... controversial. I'm one of those readers who dislikes them, because while we're in the past the story isn't moving forward. I prefer to have backstory given to my the second way: peppered in, a little bit at a time, and not given in one big chunk. Flashbacks are totally valid, but it's worth bearing in mind that including too many of them may alienate readers.

    To answer your question - I would put lengthy flashbacks in a scene of their own where possible, so the reader is very clear when we return to the present. If the flashbacks are REALLY long you might want to put them in chapters of their own - though I have to say again, if an author does that more than once a twice per book, I'm quite likely to put it down.
     
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  3. A.M. Rousso

    A.M. Rousso New Member

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    They're flashbacks. They're not long and it's only until the middle of the book. If I put them together in separate chapters, I'll have 3 chapters of the past and 20 chapters of the present, more or less. Anyway I can't reveal more of the past until the last chapters of the book. Suspence and all that.
     
  4. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man or BayView

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    That does sound like an awful lot of backstory. Are you sure you need it all? If so, it sounds like separate chapters would make sense.
     
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  5. Spencer1990

    Spencer1990 Contributor Contributor

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    I'm with @Tenderiser on this one. I'm usually the first one to say that you should write whatever you want, but I know that 98% of the time I feel inclined to add lengthy backstory, it's not because the story actually needs it, but more of an authorial intrusion. I have these really neat ideas that I REALLY want to write, but they don't move the story forward, and upon revision, I cut them because they aren't doing anything for my story.

    If you need to get it out, write it. Just be ruthless when deciding what you actually need. A little backstory is great, but I've certainly skipped my fairshare of flashback chapters in novels.

    And PLEASE don't write a whole flashback chapter in italics. :D
     

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