forum How do you handle jump backs to the past in your novels?
Started by Sophie Herbert

people_alt 60 followers

Sophie Herbert

I have a lot of backstory I want to write without it being the whole “She remembered” kind of cliche

Deleted user

Depending on the moment, you could have a character telling about the backstory that leads to the flashback, or just… abrupt flashbacks that take place the next chapter or section of the story. Or, when there's a transition, maybe put in a flashback to give your readers more info? Depends on what you wanna do.

@Becfromthedead group

So 9 times out of 10, usually exposition woven in throughout a story does the trick. You just have to have a healthy exposition/story/dialogue balance, and usually it works fine.
Flashbacks are helpful when you NEED to show exact placement, when the exact sequence is important. However, you have to be careful when showing flashbacks, because you run the risk of pulling readers away from the story at hand, or putting in unnecessary fluff. Sometimes, it can also be hard to tell when the transition to a past event happens. If done carefully (and not done every time you want to share backstory), flashbacks can be great. But keep in mind that just vaguely mentioning bits of backstory and scattering them can save you a lot of space and feel more natural.
If you can find it, you should totally give the short story Lizard Man by David James Poissant a read. It's a really good example for if you do decide to do flashbacks.