Flash Backs in a novel, good or bad?

Questions for the resident (former) agent
Post Reply
Juls Duncan
Posts: 10
Joined: December 13th, 2010, 6:02 pm

Flash Backs in a novel, good or bad?

Post by Juls Duncan » December 31st, 2010, 10:32 am

I heard that if you have flash backs in a novel, your manuscript will be rejected by most agents that you send it to… Is this true?
Thanks Juls

User avatar
Posts: 685
Joined: May 26th, 2010, 8:35 pm

Re: Flash Backs in a novel, good or bad?

Post by cheekychook » December 31st, 2010, 11:48 am

I'm not Nathan, but I started a thread about this a while ago....here: viewtopic.php?f=2&t=1477

Passionate Plume 1st Place Winner 2012 - ALWAYS YOU
Published with Ellora's Cave, Turquoise Morning Press & Samhain Publishing

Posts: 22
Joined: January 5th, 2011, 8:30 pm

Re: Flash Backs in a novel, good or bad?

Post by allegedauthor » January 5th, 2011, 9:38 pm

I think flashbacks are great when they are done seamlessly. You don't want to jar your reader. One of the best series of flashbacks I've ever read is Stephen King's IT. Almost half the novel consists of flashbacks, but you wouldn't notice because he never pulls you out of the main conflict. I don't think agents hate flashbacks, but I think they hate them when they aren't done well. Just my opinion though. Good luck!

User avatar
Posts: 115
Joined: September 20th, 2010, 9:51 pm

Re: Flash Backs in a novel, good or bad?

Post by wordranger » January 8th, 2011, 10:27 pm

I agree with alegedauthor. If it is done well, and makes sense, why not?
If it is written poorly, or has no purpose being where you put it, of course it will be a problem.

Use your best judgement. If you think it feels wrong, it probably is. If you love it and it feels right, GO WITH IT!
Words are your friend.
Don't be afraid to lose yourself in them.

Jennifer Eaton, WordRanger
My Novelette LAST WINTER RED will be published by J. Taylor Publishing in December, 2012

Take a Step into My World and Learn From My Mistakes http://www.jennifermeaton.com/

Posts: 160
Joined: January 11th, 2011, 3:56 pm
Location: Atlanta, Jawjuh

Re: Flash Backs in a novel, good or bad?

Post by JohnDurvin » January 11th, 2011, 4:17 pm

Make sure you're using the flashbacks as a plot device rather than a gimmick; used well, they reveal backstory, add dimension, even change the direction of the "present." Used badly, they either take up space or confuse people (especially when they are unlabeled, as some post-modernists like to do.) A good guide to follow is this: did you think of a plot that is best told using flashbacks, or did you just think that "Memento" was a really cool movie?
Everybody loves using things as other things, right? Check out my blog at the Cromulent Bricoleur and see one hipster's approach to recycling, upcycling, and alterna-cycling (which is a word I just made up).

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests