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Writing Advice & Discussion > Backstory Question

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message 1: by Phyllis (new)

Phyllis A Still (phyllisastill) Can an entire novel be the main character's flashback if he or she states it in such a way that the reader understands how important their backstory is to the current situation? And can the backstory last through two more books and conclude with the third finishing the perilous current story? :)


message 2: by Lin (new)

Lin | 213 comments Mod
Simple answer: yes. I seem to remember of D


message 3: by Lin (new)

Lin | 213 comments Mod
I hate the phone keyboard! Dick Francis wrote a novel where the whole book was a flashback and it worked well. But that's the secret - it has to work. And that's in the writing as well as the story itself.


message 4: by Phyllis (new)

Phyllis A Still (phyllisastill) Thank you Lin.


message 5: by Tony (new)

Tony Denn (tonydenn) Do you mean concurrent storylines with one impacting the other? Like there's a story going on for the main body of work, but punctuated by whole chapters of flashback that tie in with current events? I'm thinking about something similar to the TV show "Lost" and more recently "Arrow".

Otherwise, isn't every story told in the past tense a sort-of flashback?


message 6: by Phyllis (new)

Phyllis A Still (phyllisastill) Here is a reply I received from a professional writing coach and editor: "Hi Phyllis, it makes no sense at all to do a whole book as a flashback. You could have the prologue set up the story is being told from the future point, and then have an epilogue wrapping it up. Take a look at the movie Ever After to see what I mean. It can work great. But the novel itself would be in present action as if it is all happening in the now, even if it is a past time. Does that make sense? It’s not really about what agents will say; it’s about the best way to tell a story. A lot of stories have prologues, and some have the kind I mentioned. Mostly you don’t want to have any flashbacks or backstory in a novel, if you can help it. It is jarring and takes the reader out of the present action of the story, and that’s a bad thing."


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