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Jay232
February 23rd, 2005, 07:54 PM
I find this topic kind of interesting. I've read here that some people hate reading flashbacks, some don't like to write them. But from all of the books I've read flashbacks are considerable narrowed down to information that was never written and that the reader is supposed to find out at "the right time".
But has anyone ever read a flashback that was from earlier in the same book?

For example, towards the middle or end of the book, a character recalls a conversation from early on in the book or remembers seeing something that triggers the solution to a mystery. Something like that? Would that be odd, or not interesting? Now if it was written the SAME as earlier in the book, it would probably be boring, but what about something simple, a paragraph or less with just enough from earlier in the book to show the point.

I think if I take out the original conversation that would throw the reader for a loop when they read the flashback later on, but then again it might also give a little more mystery. I just wondered what everyone here's opinions would be :D

Expendable
February 24th, 2005, 12:41 AM
...I think if I take out the original conversation that would throw the reader for a loop when they read the flashback later on, but then again it might also give a little more mystery. I just wondered what everyone here's opinions would be :D

One of the best flashbacks I ever read was in Vacuum Flowers, where the main character is in a bit of a daze, so when her former boss appears with the portable head freezer (she ran off with someone's personality and the corporation wants it back), she doesn't scream but talks to her ex-boss telling him that she wanted to be the one to dive into the raw personality matrix first (the one she stole), no barriers. Reliving the day she 'stole' the personality.

This catches him by surprise and he's struggling to remember this conversation he had with her weeks ago so she doesn't snap out of it and realize he's been programmed to kill her and bring back her head.

But flashbacks are ok if you use them right, especially if its from earlier in the book. They're great for refreshing the reader about the items you want them to pay attention to.

SubZero61992
February 24th, 2005, 05:16 AM
I can handle most flashbacks I have read but other people in my class hate them.

I like flashbacks especially when I have figured out the mystery before the character does using a flashback to a conversation in the beginning of the book.

KatG
February 24th, 2005, 10:36 AM
Yeah, you can do that. What you want to do is read Stephen R. Donaldson's "The Real Story" which is the first book in his "The Gap" series. Donaldson is best known for fantasy -- his Thomas Covenant series, but this is a science fiction series. "The Real Story" tells the details of the story of three characters, two men and a woman, going back over and over such events from different character perspectives. Which of course changes the story a great deal each time you go through the events so that it's not just pure repetition. It's a fairly short novel.

There's also Stephen King's "The Green Mile" which was written as a serial novel as a lucrative experiment, each section published separately as a small part of the story. I read the thing as a whole and there is substantial repetition and flashbacks from earlier events in each part in order to orient the reader. But these create an interesting rhythym to the thing. And there are a lot of other similar devices that pop up in other titles. The idea of a recurring flashback, for instance, is pretty common. And time travel stories like to use it. For a visual example, watch the film, "The Butterfly Effect."

tooeviltoknow
March 4th, 2005, 11:40 AM
But from all of the books I've read flashbacks are considerable narrowed down to information that was never written and that the reader is supposed to find out at "the right time". But has anyone ever read a flashback that was from earlier in the same book?


The idea of a recurring flashback, for instance, is pretty common. And time travel stories like to use it. For a visual example, watch the film, "The Butterfly Effect."

Check out Son of Avonar (The Bridge of D'Arnath, Book 1)
by Carol Berg to see how a good example of flashbacks are used, I was looking forward to reading the flashbacks than the story itself.