Posts Tagged ‘Demi Moore’

Writing Coach Teresa LeYung-Ryan here . . . to give writers an analogy for  “flashbacks” and how to show them with ease. This blog post is inspired by a lovely author from my “For Theme’s Sake” class who has a remarkable story.

First, the definition of “flashback” for story-tellers:

  • interruption of chronological sequence by interjection of events of earlier occurrence

Even though a golden rule  in story-telling is to avoid using flashbacks, sometimes the majority of the story is presented through one flowing flashback.

Here’s the analogy:

I’m composing a letter to a dear friend  who has asked me: “Tell me what all has happened to you since I last saw you seven years ago?”

I think back to seven years ago. My letter = one big flashback. To create story-flow, I shall tell my friend what has been happening in chronological order.

Perhaps I have been battling illness the past seven years, seeking various modalities for relief, and building new relationships. I’ll tell her about major events (plot points) from 2009, then 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014. I shall end the letter with what’s happening this year 2015.

[ As Plot Whisperer Martha Alderson reminds us . . . “Without cause and effect there is no plot. Without cause and effect, events are simply episodic happenings.”]

In my letter, I would be summarizing my journey  chronologically. To tell the story out of chronology would definitely confuse my friend.  I could skip over years if there were no major plot points, however, still keeping chronology – for example: I could write (relating to 2010, 2011, 2012) “For the next 3 years I kept my routine.”

In writing a book, I would be writing “scenes” chronologically, using summary to skip over time. Summary is not a substitute for a scene.

If I tell/show my flashbacks out of sequence . . . I would be “interrupting” myself and confusing the reader which would result in losing reader’s attention.

Here’s an aid to show flashbacks in sequence and with ease . . . print a calendar or calendars that correspond to the timeline of your story. In my above analogy of writing a letter to tell my friend what happened to me . . .  if my illness began in March 2009, I would begin with March 2009 and tell my adventure in chronology (not jumping back and forth in time).

 

If I were talking to my friend in person . . . and if I start to get mixed up regarding sequence of events . . . my friend would be able to say to me: “I’m confused.”  In writing a book, if I tell events out of sequence, the reader would not have the benefit of asking me for clarification; most likely the confused reader would put down my book.

The other major reason for showing flashbacks in sequence is to show character growth and consequences. In my above analogy . . . my reaction, decisions, action in March influence my reaction, decision, action in April . . . a calendar moves forward, not back and forth.

If my story timeline is one week . . . my reaction, decisions, action on Monday influence my reaction, decision, action on Tuesday  . . . calendar moves forward, not back and forth.

Two movies where the majority of the story is shown in one flowing flashback are Kitty Foyle (Ginger Rogers portrays protagonist) and Flawless (Demi Moore portrays protagonist) – in both stories, the beginning scene and the last scene are shown in current time; the body of the story (what happened?) is shown in one continuous flashback.

Happy Writing and Rewriting!

Sincerely,

Coach Teresa LeYung-Ryan

 

Coach Teresa LeYung-Ryan  teaches writers how to transform their email signature-blocks, photos, videos, social media, website/blog descriptions into platform statements . . . to attract target audience/readers/fans . . . before and after publication.  http://WritingCoachTeresa.com and  https://www.youtube.com/user/teresaleyung

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She is the creator of:

  • classes, including:
    • *For Theme’s Sake: Edit Your Own Manuscript Before Pitching to Agents or Self-Publishing
    • *Heroes, Tricksters, and Villains – What Do These Archetypes Want in Your Story World?
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  • Immigrant Experience Writing Contest
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  • interactive presentations, including:
    • *Help Your Fans Find YOU
    • *Build & Retrofit Your Writer’s Platform

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the author of:

  • Build Your Writer’s Platform & Fanbase In 22 Days: Attract Agents, Editors, Publishers, Readers, and Media Attention NOW (workbook);
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  • Love Made of Heart: a Daughter, a Mother, a Journey Through Mental Illness (novel used in college classes and archived at the San Francisco History Center);
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  • “Talking to My Dead Mom Monologues” (the first monologue received an award from Redwood 10-Minute Play Contest and was staged at the 6th Street Playhouse in Santa Rosa, CA);
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  • her blog (which attracts tens of thousands of writers) at http://WritingCoachTeresa.com helps writers build their platforms before and after publication

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and a proud member of:

  • California Writers Club (3 branches! And a past president of the San Francisco Peninsula Branch); and a recipient of the Jack London Award for outstanding service to California Writers Club;
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  • Women’s National Book Association-San Francisco Chapter (a past board member).

 

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