Understanding the Flashback—Bending Time as a Literary Device

OMG, did I forget to mention my first (2nd&possibly3rd) drafts of my manuscript also contain a “few” flashbacks? Kristen you are killing me here and I love it! ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜ Lets hear it for #4! I can do this! Write on! ๐Ÿ’› Jessica

Kristen Lamb's Blog

Image vis Flickr Creative Commons, courtesy of Yuya Sekiguchi. Image vis Flickr Creative Commons, courtesy of Yuya Sekiguchi.

Last time we talked about flashbacks and why they ruin fiction. But, because this is a blog and I donโ€™t want it to be 20,000 words long, I canโ€™t address everything in one post. Today, weโ€™re going to further unpack โ€œthe flashback.โ€ I think we tend to use broad literary terms to encompass a lot of things that arenโ€™t precisely the same things, and in doing this, we get confused.

In my POV, the term โ€œflashbackโ€ is far too broad.

We can mistakenly believe that any time an author shifts time, that THIS is the dreaded โ€œflashbackโ€ I am referring to and the one I (as an editor) will cut.

Not necessarily.

We need to broaden our understanding of the โ€œflashbackโ€ because lumping every backwards shift in time under one umbrella wonโ€™t work.

My favorite example is the term โ€œantagonist.โ€ Iโ€™veโ€ฆ

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