Writing flashbacks is a lot of fun when drafting up a new story. You get to discover aspects of a character that you wouldn’t if you are following them in a chronological storyline.
Flashbacks are a great way to understand what emotional or physical experiences someone in your story had gone through in the past to make them who they are in the present-day story. However, a simple flashback can also open up a black hole sucking you into another plot that you were not expecting.
Telling the history of a character may involve a new setting, a new cast of characters, and a whole new objective and storyline. Whenever you jump backward in a story, follow these five times, to ensure that you are staying focused on what you want to tell, and not a completely different one that just so happened to involve the same character. Nevertheless, sometimes if the pen is flowing, get it all down on paper.
Here are 5 tips to writing a flashback that gives your reader the information they need without losing track of the storyline:
- Know what is leading to the flashback: is it a memory of an item? Is it a conversation with an old friend?
- Know the duration of your flashback: is it going to linger on one event? Or will it extend further?
- Know what relevant details to have in the flashback: was the scenery different, were there different music, how have things changed or not changed? Why does the audience need to know this?
- Know why flashback isn’t a part of the main story.
- Know if your story can live without the flashback. After you finish writing your first draft, remove the flashback and see how it reads.
A flashback is something that can be fodder for another tale… so don’t resist it. Recognize it.
Want more writing tips and inspirations? Follow my writing journey on YouTube!