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bear by san

March 2017



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phil ochs troubador

Mah chapter two flashback. Let me show you it.


There are no rules. There are only techniques that work, and techniques that don't work.

However, that said. the chances that you really need to stop the narrative dead to give the protagonist's entire history in chapter two (or, in the case of short fiction, starting at the top of page three) are slim.


Nobody wants to read that. It breaks the flow of the narrative, removes the tension and enjoyment the reader would otherwise get from learning about the characters in a natural and evolving fashion, and generally, well, doesn't work. Books are like icebergs; the writer should know 90% more about the characters and world than makes it on the page.

And I can say this, because I just handed in a book with a chapter two flashback.

And a prologue.

Although I cheated and called the prologue chapter one, and the chapter two flashback chaper three.


Did I get away with it?

Well, tell you what. This time next year, you can tell me.

mrissa sez: elisem shared something Mike once told her about unfinished projects being nurse logs in the artist's forest ecosystem, and that was such a kind, useful, and true thing to hear.

And some other smart things.

And it's true. You don't always have to finish something for it to be useful.

Valuable lesson for the compulsive completing things Bear.


Well, casacorona didn't make me take it out, and I was pretty sure she was gonna....

I dunno. Problem is that the book takes place over about 2300 years.

Chronology gets a bit sticky when you're immortal.
I am a freak of nature for I love the flashback in all its varied forms. *g*
That Mike Ford quote is lovely.

Damn, he died too young. It was all unlike his great and gracious ways.
I don't think I've ever known anybody else to leave quite such a big hole when he went, either.

casacorona is wise. she knows.
There's always the Joss Whedon trick of making the backstory/eposition seem to be THE story until briskly revealing it to be otherwise.
When I was young and foolish I read a number of Babysitters' Club books, and I got into the habit of flicking straight from the end of chapter 1 to the start of chapter 3.

I have a vague recollection of a book that warns the reader that they can do this if they chose. Possibly it was Tristam Shandy, which I should get around to reading more than the first few pages of.