I know that flashbacks are mostly taboo in fiction. They should be used sparingly and only if they drive the plot, not as an information dump or because the writer is too lazy or doesn't know how to build the backstory into the main plot. I've written 9 books and I can count on one hand the number of times I have used a flashback. By the way, I used to write genre fiction, mostly women's fiction and romance. When I started my new manuscript, which is more literary than genre, I decided to chuck the traditional publishing "rules" and go indie. The thing is, I realize that while many of the genre rules are arbitrary, a lot of them are necessary and created by people who know what they are talking about. Is the flashback taboo one of those "necessary" rules? When I started my new manuscript I realized that my character's backstory is part of the actual story. Showing the reader the aspects of her past, rather than just alluding to it, is essential to the development of the plot. But since her backstory starts when she is 19, I did not want to start the story there and go through the next 15 years of her life. And so, the story picks up when she is on a vacation in a foreign country. We don't know why she is there, just that she is desperate and searching. Then the rest of the story ping-pongs back and forth between the current, present day scenario where she is trying to find respite in this foreign country, and the past, where a series of events leads her to a nervous breakdown. The breakdown will never be expressed in the story, but the past and the present both pivot around this event. There are essentially two story arcs, and the things we learn about her past answer questions we have about her present journey and the reason she does the things she does. As the story goes on, the two arcs will get closer and closer together and it will become apparent that she takes the same journey twice, but with different results. So I'm not sure if these really count as flashbacks, since it isn't the character thinking back to it. We are actually there with her in the past. The book is also arranged so that each chapter is split into two sections: present and past. Each section has the same central theme, representing her parallel journeys. The chapters are also named according to that theme. So, what do you guys think? Am I dooming this book to failure before it even gets off the ground? Or could this actually work?