Let’s Not Flash Each Other

Flashbacks happen in a novel when your character remembers or relives something that happened in their past.

Flashbacks get a super bad rap in the world of editors and publishing, but sometimes you need them. WARNING: Even when you need them, you don’t want to stay in them too long.

So why would you ever need that dastardly flashback?

It helps the plot move forward.

I know right? How can something that has the word ‘back’ in it, move the plot forward? It can if . . .

The remembering of the past event (flashback) moves the plot forward. The remembering of that flashback needs to trigger the character to act or change their way of thinking.

And the other thing?

It can’t be boring.

That backstory that they are remembering, that flashback needs to be sexy enough for us readers to enjoy being there with the character.


When you have a character flashback to past events, you’re pressing a giant pause button on the forward narrative flow of the story. So the rewards of that need to be HUGE.

What makes a huge reward?

A plot revelation or

A massive energizing moment for character development.

Flashbacks have to:

  1. Give the reader some new juicy bits about the character and/or situation.
  2. Not take away from the current main focus of the plot.
  3. Not ruin the subtext of the story.
  4. Not be right in the beginning of the story.

Let’s talk about point #4 for a second: Your reader has to care enough about the character and relate to them for a bit, become acquainted before they want to hear about their backstory. Treat them right before you throw them into your character’s sundry past.

And now let’s spend a hot second with point #3 because that tends to be the harder one to get because it’s about subtext, that confusing beast. It’s like a unlabeled vegetable (not a carrot) in the produce department and you think it’s a cabbage, but it’s really kohlrabi.

The subtext of a story is according to good ole MasterClass:

“Subtext is the implicit meaning of a text—the underlying message that is not explicitly stated or shown. Subtext gives the reader information about characters, plot, and the story’s context as a whole. Using subtext is a great way to communicate underlying emotion that a character doesn’t directly voice.”

There are all different kinds of it, too.

But for our purposes here, the character’s background is something you the writer should know, and you want to make sure that there is still subtext in that flashback that is sexy and interesting and so sexy and interesting that it doesn’t matter that this flashback is old news. That’s a whole lot of sexy.

And you want to be a sexy writer, right? So use those flashbacks wise and sparingly.

NEW BOOK ALERT!

INCHWORMS, the second book in the DUDE GOODFEATHER series is coming out September 1!

A fascinating must-read suspense from New York Times bestseller Carrie Jones.

A new chance visiting a small Southern college.
A potential love interest for a broken girl obsessed with psychology.
A damaged group of co-eds.
A drowning that’s no accident.
A threat that seems to have no end.

And just like that Jessica Goodfeather aka Dude’s trip away from her claustrophobic life in Maine to try to get an amazing scholarship to her dream school has suddenly turned deadly. Again.

You can buy it here!


NEW BOOK ALERT!

I just want to let everyone know that INCHWORMS (The Dude Series Book 2) is out and having a good time as Dude competes for a full scholarship at a prestigious Southern college and getting into a bit of trouble.

Here’s what it’s about:

A fascinating must-read suspense from New York Times bestseller Carrie Jones.

A new chance visiting a small Southern college.
A potential love interest for a broken girl obsessed with psychology.
A damaged group of co-eds.
A drowning that’s no accident.
A threat that seems to have no end.

And just like that Jessica Goodfeather aka Dude’s trip away from her claustrophobic life in Maine to try to get an amazing scholarship to her dream school has suddenly turned deadly. Again.


What would you do to make a difference?

After his best friend Norah was almost abducted, Cole Nicholaus has spent most of his childhood homeschooled, lonely and pining for Norah to move from best friend to girl friend status. When birds follow him around or he levitates the dishes, he thinks nothing of it—until a reporter appears and pushes him into making a choice: stay safe at home or help save a kidnapped kid.

Cole and Norah quickly end up trying to not just save a kid, but an entire town from a curse that has devastating roots and implications for how exactly Cole came to be the saint that he is.

Can Cole stop evil from hurting him and Norah again? And maybe even get together? Only the saints know.

From the New York Times and internationally bestselling author of the NEED seriesSaint is a book about dealing with the consequences that make us who we are and being brave enough to admit who we love and what we need.

BUY NOW! 🙂 I made a smiley face there so you don’t feel like I’m too desperate.

The cover. Creepy, right?

You can read an excerpt right here.