Author: Robin Rivera
Robin trained as a professional historian and worked as a museum curator, an educator and historical consultant. She writes dark young adult fiction, with diverse characters. She's currently querying a novel, and working on two new manuscripts that started off as NaNoWriMo projects. You can follow her on Facebook(https://www.facebook.com/robin.rivera.90813) or on Twitter @robinrwrites. However, Pinterest (https://www.pinterest.com/RRWrites/) is where her inner magpie is happiest of all.
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9 thoughts on “Writing a Flashforward”
I think the flashfarward is one of the hardest techniques to pull off in stroytelling. Yes, it can create tension and expectation, but it can just as easily kill it. I’ve seen many authors use the flashfarward very poorly and it did kill my enjoyment of the story.
I think in the end it’s the same as the flashback. We hav eto ask ourseves and very hard: do I really need it? And most importantly, do my readers really really need this?
I’m a huge fan of How To Get Away With Murder. Shondra Rymes (spelling?) does a fantastic job of keeping our focus glued to the screen. She makes it look so easy in all her series. Scandal is another good one.
Thank you for this interesting blog post. What’s your opinion of first or third person narratives where flash forwards are concerned? I think if you’re writing in the first person past tense then your narrator has “lived to tell the tale” and can narrate events with the benefit of hindsight. This means they can hint at things still to happen, thus building suspense. This is harder in the third person without the author coming across as an intrusive omniscient narrator. Kate Atkinson does it brilliantly in “A God in Ruins” though, often moving between past, present and future within the same sentence. She’s a genius!
Hi Margarita, I would agree that it is easier in first person POV. When I think about the ways I’ve see authors do astounding things with a timeline those are often some of the best examples. However, I didn’t mind the narrator jumping in to give me important information. I wouldn’t like it to happen all the time, but I hate the excessive use of the flashback too. Knowing where and when to use one is critical. I haven’t read A God in Ruins, but it just moved to the top of my reading list. : )
Thanks for this. I am tangling with the possibility of one of these in my own WIP. The murder scene without revealing the killer. It is hard! Especially if you have male and female suspects.
Hi Jenni, Not revealing gender is tricky, but I’m sure you’ll figure it out. Good luck!
Thank you for this thoughtful article. I can think of many examples where a character has a drean, prophecy, or vision of the future but incorrectly interpetes it.
The Canadian television show “Motive” made the use of a flashforward their trademark. It takes the standard police/detective show and turns it on its head by identifying the Killer and Victim in the first five minutes. What could be a gimmick works because we try to figure out the Motive rather than just the identity of the killer. The focus is not forensics but human relations. A Whydunit, if you will.
Hi Robert, I love a good Whydunit! Guessing the motive is always entertaining. I’ll look for that TV show. Thanks!