"The writer must be in it; He can't be to one side of it, ever. He has to be endangered by it. His own attitudes have to be tested in it. The best work that anybody ever writes is the work that is on the verge of embarrassing him, always." -Arthur Miller (As quoted in "Writing with Style" by John R. Trimble)
So recently in my book I have switched between point of views between three or four different people. The two main POV are Skyler and Chandler. Obviously, they are the main characters, but every five or six chapters I will go into a 3rd person POV with a supporting character... No... he's more of a main character... ...Either way, he is important to the story. Anyways, because of the insane amount of back story this guy has, I feel the need to do flashbacks.
Oh look. I'm crazy.*
Flashbacks aren't a bad thing. I mean I certainly like them in books. I absolutely loved Kaladin's flashbacks in the Way Of Kings. Darrow's in Chanters of Tremaris was well done. Looking through the pensieve in Harry Potter was definitely good.
But there is one thing that flashbacks must have: A relevance to the story.
Flashbacks must come with a purpose. You probably shouldn't just throw a random flashback at the reader if it is not relevant to the story line at all. Now it doesn't need to seem relevant at the time that the reader gets the flashback, but it does need to make sense why we learned about this past event later on in the story.
I personally love writing flashbacks for this character. It shows such a different side of him that is buried deep and hidden away in the present time of the book. It gives you a better perspective of what is actually going on in this guy's head. (Don't tell me to write him in first person because I am not that brave.)
Because this is such a serious blog post.
I want to do the same thing with another character I have. His past is... well it has a ton of holes. Right now, the reader barely knows much about what happened to him up until he meets Skyler. I want to give him flashbacks as well, but I can't decide if they will just be informative, or actually relevant.
Maybe you should just pretend you don't know me...
And then there are those scenes that pretty much all readers crave for. You know the cute little touching ones that were mentioned but never actually written? Well I have a few of those, don't worry, they will actually go in the book.
So what do you think? What are some of your favorite flashbacks? They can be from any story, movie or book. I'm simply curious.
Music while writing this post: Counting Stars by OneRebublic.
*Hey. You know you have pictures of yourself with crazy faces. I'm just not ashamed of the ones I have...