Just as with Sparks, my second novel is in the driver’s seat and I’m just along for the ride. For months, when I’ve had spare brain cycles, I tried to figure out whether or not a portion of it should be shown in flashback. Now that finishing it is one of my main activities, I began to write in earnest and immediately the story showed me that flashbacks won’t work.
The circumstances are such using them would make it the hero’s tale – and I want it to be that of the heroine.A challenge is that a significant part of the story occurs in the past, so I’m driven to study up on alternatives to the linear narrative. I’m also reading stories such as Katherine Neville’s The Eight and Audrey Niffenegger’s The Time Traveller’s Wife. They’re helping me out tremendously and inspired me to figure out how to handle time displacement in the way that works best for my story.
As soon as I typed the first few words, a scene evolved, revealing what I had to do. Strategically placed snippets – or vignettes – from the past. Not shown in flashback, but used to propel the linear story line of the present. Holy cow – just like that, the narrative structure is in place. I’m really jazzed!