Jump to content
Storyist Forums

Dealing with a flash back in a first person perspective book


thealtruismsociety

Recommended Posts

Yeah been awhile, hello all again.

 

Still working on my written novel, decided I wanted to put some flash backs in to help flesh out a minor character who dies, to give the death more significance. THe problem is the entire novel is written in first person so, how on earth could a put a flashback in that would time skip into the past? Also this person dies in chap 4 so only having flashbacks in the first 4 chapters then none later on seems like a bad idea.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yeah been awhile, hello all again.

It's nice to hear from you.

 

Still working on my written novel, ...

I know what you mean. Every time I read mine there is something I want to delete, add or change. And let's not forget fix.

 

... decided I wanted to put some flash backs in to help flesh out a minor character who dies, to give the death more significance. THe problem is the entire novel is written in first person so, how on earth could a put a flashback in that would time skip into the past? Also this person dies in chap 4 so only having flashbacks in the first 4 chapters then none later on seems like a bad idea.

If I were me (and I often am) I would restrict myself to zero or one flashbacks to flesh out a secondary character. As for the rest, I'd use the biography method: let him talk about himself while he's still alive or have other people talk about him ("Some say he was a jewel thief.") I know this is more "telling" than "showing" but just how much time to you want to waste on this guy? You can make him sympathetic with just a line or two ("His wife died of AIDS. No one knows who she caught it from.") I'm sure you can think of a lot of ways. But I think your instincts are correct: a single flashback about a minor charactor that doesn't come near the front of the book, or near the end, seems to unbalance the story.

 

Please keep us updated, TAS.

- Thoth

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi, TAS--

nice to hear from you. Flashbacks from one minor character in a few chapters of a first-person novel do sound like a bit of a stretch. Could you either build this character up enough to make the flashbacks (set off in italic type would be my suggestion) credible or deliver the same information in a different way, such as found letters or a diary or even telepathic communication of some sort?

Best,

M

Link to comment
Share on other sites

... deliver the same information in a different way, such as found letters or a diary or even telepathic communication of some sort?

I like M's suggestions. You could put chunks of the diary in italics and have the main character read it. Formatting for telepathy is a little trickier. I use brackets in quotes: "I fold. (I have his fourth ace. Bet the house!) How about you?"

 

-Thoth

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm thinking of adding a chapter before my current first chapter. That way it won't be a flashback, I'll have this person in the chapter and have some interaction between him and the rest of the characters, that way his death only 4 chapters later will be more powerful, poor guy.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...
Actually this person who dies really isn't contributing much of anything, gonna take them and the death out completely. hehe.

It's your decision, of course. You are God in your universe. As for myself, I like to keep a few "red shirts" around for the pointless death that warns more important characters. ("My goodness. The handbook is wrong. Those berries really are poisonous.")

 

Phasers on stun, TAS.

- Thoth

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

×
×
  • Create New...