"Writing is not necessarily something to be ashamed of. but do it in private
and wash your hands afterwards." --Robert Heinlein.

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For the next two years (Summer 2014-Summer 2016) I'll be blogging our family's adventures in China at www.chinesemileposts.wordpress.com

Friday, November 18, 2011


When reading a book that needs flashbacks, which type do you prefer?

a) Flashbacks entered into the normal layout of the book like all of a sudden the narrator is remembering something.

b) Alternating chapters

c) Alternating parts (ie: Part 1 is present, Part 2 is a flashback, Part 3 is present, etc.)

d) Some other method my feeble brain cannot even imagine right now.


Alanna said...

I don't have a strong preference, but it drives me nuts when each chapter has the same flashback format. Some book I read (I think it was The Whole World Over) used the same format EVERY SINGLE CHAPTER: start in the present tense, have the character for that chapter remember the past, get back to the present for a bit, end chapter. It got really annoying.

Now, you should probably keep having the same format for flashbacks. (Maybe. I'm not sure on that one, honestly.) But don't get so formulaic!!! Or if most of the book needs to be flashbacks, just write it in that time period instead of jumping back and forth so many times!

Okay, I'm done ranting. I'm sure you'll do great!

wendys said...

Hmmm. I just read the Underneath which flashbacks were a whole new chapter. I didn't really like that. I think I like it when the flashbacks are told in the middle of a chapter to someone.

Heather Payne said...

a - unless there are tons and tons of them and then I can't keep straight what happened in the past/is happening in the presence. I prefer that a flashback use the past tense to help me out. Not a fan of a flashback that literally puts you back in that time and uses the present tense. Maybe that's just because I'm not a very sophisticated reader. Kudos to you for writing!

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