1. Enjoyed this post. Yes, I hate the “start at the present, then jump back several years and work your way back to the beginning of the book” thing. Not sure why, I think I hate prequels for the same reason. I don’t mind a a little scene within a scene flashback if it is short. I also don’t mind clear date stamped chapters, if they are really interesting.

  2. I would agree with you when the flashbacks distract. However, my novel, “Tarnished Brass Curtain: A Novel of Vietnam” is a frame story, taking place in seven days, with flashbacks (each a chapter) as much as six months back providing motivation for the current action. I lead into the flashback with the final line of the chapter before it. It must have worked because my novel was a finalist (co-winner) of the 2011 National Independent Press Award for Excellence in the military fiction category. But as I said, I do agree with you on the difficulty of making flashbacks effective.

  3. I should have been born in Victorian times, when readers were accustomed to stories begining with prologues and first chapters which set the scene for the main storyline. But most modern readers don’t like flashbacks. They prefer to be dumped in the middle of the action, with only brief references to the past which has affected/created the present. I obviously need to bring myself up to date! But then, I’m 72, began reading when the longer form was the norm, and was patient and interested to learn the pertinent facts which happen to dwell in the past.
    Of course, I may be simply lazy!

  4. shaeshaeshaeshae

    i’m a beginning writer and i need help i have started my book with a present day then i jumped back 10 years to lead up to that point. i have had some of my friends read it and they liked it so far but i need help to see if it was a good move on my part.

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