I love how Scott Lynch uses parallel timelines in his ‘Gentleman Bastard’ series. Kristen Lamb explains how to work flashbacks into your story.
One reason we might be tempted to use a flashback is to explain or to expound to artificially prop up weak characterization or a weak plot (the training wheel flashback). This is what good editors will cut. Then there is the other way to use time and that is time as a literary device. This is when our going back in time is used intelligently to serve the forward momentum of the story.
Last time, we delved into the idea of a loop around (one form of flashback as a literary device). Sometimes we see a story that is smack in the action and then after the inciting incident the story shifts back in time until it catches up where we began then continues real-time.
I used the example of Christopher Moore’s Island of the Sequined Live Nun. This is looping back in time as a literary…
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