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Saturday, March 20, 2021

Flashbacks, Who Needs Them?

     Flashbacks are not designed for the writer's amusement, but rather the reader's education. If your flashback is not going to elucidate, illuminate, or provide context, then you probably don't need it.

     It is also advisable not to use a flashback in a novel-length manuscript when you only have one or two flashbacks to insert. You're better off setting up a pattern of at least a half a dozen flashbacks at fairly regular intervals, rather than taking one or two lonely excursions into the past. If there are only two flashbacks, the reader will be jarred by the digressions and they will stand out as an abnormality. [At least in screenwriting, the trend seems to be more flashbacks. Flashbacks in the pursuit of artsy-fartsiness weakens the craft of storytelling.]

Jessica Page Morrell, Between the Lines, 2006

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