Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Flashbacks: Yes, no, maybe?

Oooh, look at me, getting all fancy and posting two days in a row!

I had a thought the other day -- well, actually, I had lots, but this was the only one worth blogging about -- that maybe The Princess Dilemma could benefit from some flashbacks. I've been trying to establish a lot of the background via narration, but sometimes I worry that it comes across as a little too exposition-y.

In the interest of "showing, not telling" as we were so often instructed in class, I'm wondering if it would be better to insert some of this past information as flashbacks... Or maybe not so much flashbacks, but scenes between chapters. Between each chapter, a scene that takes place in the past. I could elaborate on some of Nyeida's past abductions, how and why Ciotoph decided to join The Syndicate, other things involving other characters that haven't yet been introduced via the excerpts on this blog. I'm thinking this might help establish the characters and flesh out the story. But on the other hand, it might be a distraction or break the flow of the story. I may have to experiment with it and figure it out. At the very least, if they don't work in the story, I'll have plenty of stuff to post here on the blog.

So then the question becomes, when do I insert them? Do I go back through right now and insert them between the 11 chapters I've written so far? Do I just start inserting some going forward, and add the rest later? Or do I continue writing as I have been, and add them in draft 2? It's something for me to play around with over the holiday.

And speaking of the holiday, I have a short story all slated to go up on Christmas. Hooray! It is absolutely, positively not Christmas-related in any way, shape or form (as I have never written a Christmas-related story and may go to my grave without having done so), so those of a particularly humbug nature need not worry about that.


Susan de Guardiola said...

I think extended flashbacks would be distracting. Could you just write intriguing and mildly cryptic excerpts as chapter headings? Sort of like Barbara Hambly did in the headers to Dog Wizard, if I'm remembering correctly? She made them all sound like quotes from various works of history, which I thought was a neat gimmick.

AJ said...

That might work better, Susan. I'll play around with different things and see what works.

I had a really hard time getting into Dog Wizard though. I think the first two times I tried to read it, I didn't realize that there were other books that came before it.