When people tell me the crust is their favorite part of the pizza.
You do know that's the part you throw away, right?
When I'm reading a book and someone asks me what I'm doing.
what the fuck does it look like, Einstein?
When people give their height in cm.
I'm all for the metric system but telling me you're 168 centimeters tells me nothing.
I've read over and over in writing and publishing sites and articles that flashbacks are a big no-no. Stay in the now, it halts the momentum etc. etc., but I think they are a great way to build the character's back story without having a big info dump. Info dumps are awkward. The usual way writer's get in back story is by having characters talk about what happened way back when. This almost always comes across as weird. It's ok, for a line or two here and there, but I've read some that go on for pages and pages. It sounds something like this: "remember the time when I did this and this and so and so was mad and did this in return?" "Ya, then I went there and did this and that caused a shit storm over there and we both thought it was that dude but it wasn't." "Uh huh, and then I felt so bad that the rest of the year I was depressed and miserable and you had to save me and that's why we love each other so much."
It is a conversation that would never happen in real life. But it's hard to fill in all the gaps and get the reader to understand the complex nature of relationships without some back story. So what are writers to do? Awkward dialogue or internal conversations that reveal the past? Or flashbacks? With AMARANTHINE, for example, I preferred to use flashbacks rather than dialogue. I liked being able to go back in time and show the reader what happened rather than tell them. I think it's nicer to read and gives a better picture of events than a dialogue recap. So why do publishers and editors detest them so much? I really have no idea. The same reason they hate prologues I guess. Too many people do them poorly.
But, I recently started watching LOST, and that show is full of flashbacks. It works. It drives the story and fills the gaps, and builds the characters without having endless dialogue telling us what made these people the way they are. I don't feel bad for using the flashbacks anymore. They are a tool, and a damn good one, and I did them well. So here is to the much maligned flashback, may you shed your bad boy image and enjoy the glory you so rightly deserve. Cheers!
For some reason prologues are the new dirty word in publishing. Agents hate them, publishers hate them, editors hate them, readers hate them... and yet writers keep writing them. I have one; a long one. I tried really hard to get rid of it, but I need that prologue. The rest of the book just doesn't make sense without it. It's the beginning of the two female lead characters, the Heroine and the Villain, and it's important to tell those first few pages.
I don't hate prologues as much as some people. Sometimes they are boring or irrelevant, but sometimes the first chapter is boring or irrelevant and it's not like we are going to start banning the first chapter. They can and should be done well. They can and should be important to the story. I say, if I need it then I should use it. It is my story after all, I can write it in hieroglyphics if I want to.
What do you all think of prologues?
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Amaranthine: Eternally beautiful and unfading; everlasting.
The Amaranth flower is a mythical flower that never dies.