Pirate Codes & Writing Rules—When is a Flashback a Literary Device?
Anytime there’s a “Pirates of the Caribbean” quote used, I’m compelled to take a closer look. I love pirates, and Hector Barbosa is my favorite. I also love writing tips, with Kristen Lamb’s blog being one of my favorites. This week she’s been explaining flashbacks, and like all her posts, this is a timely topic for me. I’ve been doing a lot of fiction reading these past couple of weeks in between my writing projects, and my current read is spending a lot of time in the past. I keep asking why? When will the story begin? What is the point? This flashback is pretty long (to me), that I’m failing to see the point of continuing the book (I’m only in the first chapter)–but it’s won the Pulitzer for Fiction, so the author must have done something right. Kristen’s post today, which explains about different plot structures (parallel timelines and non-linear ones), has renewed my resolve to see this book through to the end. Perhaps you will find a fresh way to convey past events in your stories, as well.
Yesterday’s post stirred quite the debate and flurry of panic attacks, so today, we will delve a bit further into Le Mystique of Le Flashback. First of all, for future reference, I need to ignore all Facebook comments that begin with, “I haven’t read your post, but completely disagree…” Er? Ok. Here’s the thing. I play dictator on my blog, because it’s my blog and it’s FUN.
I’m a realist and I KNOW there is some writer out there who has broken every rule there is. But, bringing up every last exception is a confusing way to teach and a fabulous way to make your heads explode.
It’s like the “I before E Except After C (except for when you run a feisty heist on a weird beige foreign neighbor) Rule.”
If I give you guys the BASICS and explain WHY editors, agents and readers almost always dislike flashbacks…
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