Please Kill Me,
Greetings and happy Friday my artistically inclined auteurs of tomorrow. How goes the week? If all has gone according to plan – then the acrobats should be arriving at your door shortly to shoot you out of a canon. While we wait for your impending flight – kick back and enjoy the sumptuous sayings of a man who needs no introduction (mostly because he’s in his living room wearing bunny slippers).
Flashbacks(also known as – that thing that you wish you could take – so that you’d still be allowed in that park you avoid).
I’m no stranger to the appreciation of a good backstory. As a matter of fact, I consider myself to be quite a fan of a well detailed and vetted narrative. If done properly, it is by all accounts good writing. However there are certain ways to go about this method of storytelling. I’ve seen it done well, I’ve seen it done decently, (and we’ve all probably seen it done so poorly that we hunted down the author and shoved the pages down his/her throat)- you know, #NormalReactions.
If you’re the type of author who naturally writes in that fashion – then you most likely have nothing to worry about. All of our minds work differently – so, though you may fall a bit beneath the bar in other respects, in this particular arena- you have an advantage.
The real worry here should go more to the chronologically inclined writer, and not for the reason you think. You see, chronological writers who deal with flashbacks are faced with a few obstacles that could potentially through off their entire story if they aren’t aware that they are committing literary suicide (TheHemingwayEffect), so for those willing to read a bit – let me help you out.
If you write chronologically – write your flashbacks as a separate narrative to your main plot line. I know, I know, “That’s weird, who does that?!” – (trust me, you should). When you grow accustomed to writing a story in order -including poorly placed flashbacks- you risk muddying up your narrative and confusing the reader.
By writing the flashbacks as their own separate narrative you can better decide what should stay and what must go, and what’s a better fit into the overall message of your story, without causing distraction – or diluting chapters with unnecessary information. Remember that every part of your story should help to move the plot forward. Don’t be afraid to retroactively add and subtract from your project.
However, if you simply MUST write the story as it comes to you (flashbacks and all) might I suggest you put your writing through the necessity test. (For those who’ve heard me preach about this a million times, I apologize) – visualize your story (you got it? good.). Now, think of it as a movie, (yes, you loophole junkie – including the flashbacks) – be honest with yourself, and ask if you really need some of those scenes – if the answer is a yes too often – then you probably know what should be adjusted.
As always these are just some simple suggestions from a guy who’s recently lost one of his bunny slippers (#Don’tJudge) – that’s all advice ever is – use it, don’t use it, (fondle it gently?) – and what not, (and pish posh).
Now if the court would be so pleased, it’s time for my daily restitution (that means I’m lazy and I’m going to go take a nap).
Go Crush Your Friday,