Friday, July 13, 2012 | By: Megan Held

Too Hot to do Squat

That is my mom’s line, not mine. Mind you, I do use it quite a bit. I have done some writing and finished knitting my first eReader cover. Yeah for me!

To go along with my writing theme of trying to help others know more about writing techniques I am giving another definition of what I use: flashback. Here is the definition, including more specific ones.Flashback

Flashback: is an interjected scene that takes the narrative back in time from the current point the story has reached. Flashbacks are often used to recount events that happened before the story’s primary sequence of events or to fill in crucial back-story. A character origin flashback shows key events early in a character's development. In the opposite direction, a flashforward (or prolepsis) reveals events that will occur in the future. The technique is used to create suspense in a story, or develop a character. In literature, internal analepsis is a flashback to an earlier point in the narrative; external analepsis is a flashback to before the narrative started.

Trust me, this is handy to use and a lot of writers use it. In my latest novel. Murder Never Dies, I start the novel with a flashback. This part is essential to the back-story and instead of writing another entire novel, or a hundred pages at the least I include some smaller flashbacks. Here is the beginning of my novel as an example:

murder coverBlood; there was lots of it. It was everywhere. It was all over me and the floor beneath me. I looked around the room, trying to recognize where I was. I tried to move my head, but it would not re­spond to my command. Something was wrong beyond my ability to see or comprehend. My eyes were all I had to allow me to figure out where I was. The wall I was facing was dull, except for when the lights which flashed or highlighted it. The colours and patterns of the lights looked like those from emergency vehicles. Red, then white, then blue and it repeated. Not in a set pattern. I knew the pattern: officer down, in need of backup. Worse call to get and whenever the call came through it required the patrol cars full sirens and lights. I knew that call all too well and in this case, the officer was me.

I tried lifting myself off of the concrete floor. My mind seemed to not be able to send these thoughts of movements to my nerves in order to get my body to react. I looked at the ground in front of me and all I could see was blood. Is that all mine? It could not be. I was not alone in the room. There was someone else with me. Someone else that had been hurt or killed. I looked up as much as my eyes would let me without going blurry or crossed-eyed and saw the body of a man. He was not moving. He—too—was surrounded by blood; which I knew was his. His face seemed familiar to me. I looked at his features. The dark, empty eyes; the long black hair tied back in a ponytail, matted with blood, sticking to his cheeks. The expression on his face was not of sorrow or of pain, but of anger: pure hatred. Whoever he was, all I could get a sense of was that I had killed him. Shot him with a gun not belonging to me. My hands seemed to not want to work for me at the moment. The place became even lighter, like spot lights had been aimed at the building to see who was or was not inside it. To see the dead man or me would be hard, unless people were high enough up off the ground and that may not have been enough to see us on the floor.

“Brady Oakes. Come out with your hands up! Release Detective Walden!” a man with a megaphone said slowly, boldly, so that I could hear him with ease inside the building.

Brady Oakes? The name of the dead man came slowly back to my memory. I had been investigating murders and he had been the prime suspect. Had I come here to stop him or had I been taken as his next victim? I looked at the dead man or Brady Oakes as he was known as. Confusion set in, my thoughts and memories were all a mess in my head. The noises outside worried me because I could not remember what was going on or what had transpired. All I could hear was the sounds of vehicles running, no footsteps or voices. I wanted to cry out for help, but my voice would not allow me. Am I dying?

“Detective Walden? Can you hear me?!” the man on the megaphone said.

I tried to yell ‘yes’ in response. It failed. Everything I had tried to do failed. There was a noise, which sounded like a door being broken into. Where? I was unable to see, or tell where it was coming from. The loud thud surprised me. I did not know if my body had reacted to it or if my mind was the only part of me that did.

“Get a paramedic in here! She’s still breathing!” an officer yelled out to the emergency personnel on the other side of the door when he had reached me.

I felt a presence of a small group of people near me. Something unnatural was happening. My body was reacting to the presence of one person in particular: a man. He had to have been out of my range of sight since his presence was barely felt.

“Detective Walden, can you hear me?” a paramedic said to me as he crouched down by my face.

I tried to tell him that I could hear him. Why can’t I respond to him? My mouth was moving to the response that I wanted to say to him. I wanted to tell him, but no sound was generated or moved from my vocal chords.

“She can’t talk! We need to get her to the hospital immediately!”

The paramedics, slowly and carefully, rolled me on to my back, placing a neck brace around my neck. They checked my vital signs and wounds as quick as they could. The total amount of noticeable wounds was seventy: a large and concerning number of wounds for any person to obtain and still be alive and breathing. “Let’s rush her! She’s lost a lot of blood and if she loses any more she won’t be conscious for much longer, let alone alive!” They lifted me onto the stretcher and rushed me out of the building.

“I will be there in a bit,” the man that had spoken on the megaphone informed the paramedics. “I’m all that she has!”

“I’ll let the nurses at the hospital know, Sergeant,” one of the paramedics said before he closed the ambulance doors, allowing my sight of the man to no longer exist.

The following chapter begins with: “Chapter 1: Two Years Later”.  If I did not do this at the beginning I would have to do this at the end. Flashbacks are a major part of this novel because it relies on the connection of a past case with a current one.

Next week I will think of another common writing aspect, unless someone would like to suggest me to explain one. This helps me remember what I learnt when I got BA. in English and Professional Writing.

2 comments:

cleemckenzie said...

If flashbacks are done well, I love them. Looks like you've managed this one VERY well.

Stopping in from goodreads to say hi.

Megan Held said...

Thank you! I try to use good examples, which means I have to write good examples.

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