Saturday, October 3, 2009


In the novel I'm working on, the main character revisits her childhood through a series of flashbacks (a concept which is not incredibly orginal, I know), that are meant to give the reader insight into the conflict in the story.

Dealing with time shifts is not easy. I keep changing my mind about how often I should incorporate it into the story, and in what way. It makes me appreciate even more, work that I have admired which handles time shifts well. I have always liked time shifts in stories, but it can be frustrating to the reader/viewer if it's not done well.

Right now, the television show Lost is on my mind because I love character driven stories and the flashbacks of the main characters' lives before the plane crash are usually my favorite parts of the episodes. I love to know how life events from the past contribute to shaping people into who they are today.

Please help me out and share examples of work have you admired, or not admired in its handling of flashbacks?


  1. One TV series that uses flashbacks well is Angel. We not only find out about his past and how it has shaped him, but it also makes for a great moment when someone from his past turns up in his present.

  2. Crazy day!

    Time shifts? I'm having a hard time thinking of one right off the bat. With my back to the wall, I'd say the Harry Potter series starting with Prisoner of Azkaban. It's in the third book that you really start to get a feel of the scope of the series. I love that moment when you (the reader) begins to realize that some things you think you understood aren't really how you thought they were. Especially in regard to the character and morality of a person you thought you knew. I love that kind of character development.

  3. HOLES by Louis Sachar--both the book and the movie. Best example there is.