I’m at the point in my writing again..memory flashbacks of traumatic childhood events, and part of me wishes I could find a different way of dealing with the material.  I often wonder whether my coverage of these issues is convincing enough. 

And yet, for many people, flashbacks do occur, though perhaps not in the way presented in fast paced crime/thriller novels.  Sometimes, the sections in these works seem too ordered, explaining the plot rather than inviting the reader to experience the world of the character in question.

I would imagine that a traumatised person would experience some level of confusion in recalling traumatic incidents, that they might confuse certain details and have huge gaps in memory.  That specific sensory details would stick out, such as particular smells and sensations, but not an actual timing of events.

I think the key to writing about flashbacks lies in the confusion, the mixing up of timing – along with the intensity of a few select details that might develop over the course of the story and appear to echo in the character’s mind.

I’m experimenting with the flashbacks. It’s still very much early days, but I’m enjoying the editing process.

Advertisements

4 thoughts on “Novel Writing:Flashbacks And The Psychological Thriller

  1. I think you are on the right track when you say “I would imagine that a traumatised person would experience some level of confusion in recalling traumatic incidents, that they might confuse certain details and have huge gaps in memory.”

    Do you suppose there is a way to translate that into a literary fashion? I’m thinking of Joyce with “Ulysses” or “Finnegan’s Wake” in terms of the transmutation of words or Celine in “Journey to the end of the Night” with the constant ellipses. Some manner of font or typography to indicate a confused state.

    Perhaps some would consider that “cheating”, that somehow the state of mind should be echoed in a verbal sense. In the end it’s what you feel comfortable with.

  2. Hi, tikiman. Thanks for commenting. I’m not sure about highlighting flashbacks. I think the change in font and typography comes between the story and the reader, and so I generally find other ways of bringing in flashbacks. I think confusion is the key.

    Hope your writing’s going well.

    Regards,

    Lawrence

  3. I agree, Lawrence. when I read a flashback I do not want to be drawn out of the story. It should be done in a way that pulls me deeper into the layers, moving seamlessly between times.
    Sounds like your enjoying the experimentation!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s