How to Handle Flashbacks

How to Handle Flashbacks

by Dorothy Love

Should I use a flashback in my novel? If so where does it go? How do I get in and out of the flashback scene?

Good questions. Not every novel benefits from the addition of a flashback–a scene that takes a character back in time to  relive a previous event. But it can be  useful if your novel covers a period of years, or if your present story has its origins in a past event. For example, if your hero and heroine were once in love, but broke up, and are now reconnecting, you can use a flashback to show significant events from their past that have a bearing on the present.

A flashback shows events as they happened, so y0ur narrative should be straightforward to avoid confusing your reader. To take your reader into the flashback, signal the change by the use of the past perfect verb tense. Write your flashback in simple past tense, then return to past perfect to take your reader out of the flashback and back to the present.

Example: Jane watched as Tarzan jogged across the street and entered the bank. She fiddled with the radio dial, trying not to think about the last time she waited for him.  Flashback: Tarzan had promised (past perfect tense) to be back by ten. She waited (simple past) in the small apartment they shared off the Rue Chambon, peering out the window every few minutes as the street quieted and darkness fell. By midnight she realized he had no intention of coming back. She had promised ( past perfect again, to indicate the flashback is ending) herself never to believe a single word he said.  Return to the present: Yet here she was, waiting.  An old Elvis tune blared from the radio. She twirled the dial, one eye on the bank entrance and sighed. How stupid was she,  to trust Tarzan with her heart, much less with her money.

Flashbacks should be placed at a believable spot in the story, at a time when the character has time to remember past events. And a  flashback needs a trigger. In my example, Tarzan has placed Jane in the same situation as before, triggering her memory. But a certain locale, a song from the past that had special meaning for your characters, running into an old friend, can also serve as triggers.

Long flashbacks should be interspersed with chunks of the present story to keep the reader grounded in the present action. Don’t let your flashback go on for so long that it takes over your story.

Never start a story with a flashback. The beginning of your story should introduce your main character or characters, and hint at the conflict. Once your readers are invested in these characters and their story, then you can sprinkle in bits of backstory. Flashbacks are one way to deliver that back story. Donald Maas, in his book  The Fire in Fiction says that back story belongs at the back of the book. Delay information for as long as possible, giving  just enough hints to keep your readers’ curiosity going.


Dorothy LoveBefore moving to the inspirational market with her Hickory Ridge series of historical romances for adult readers, Dorothy Love published more than a dozen novels for preteens and young adults at major New York houses including Random House and Simon and Schuster. Beyond All Measure, her first Hickory Ridge title from Thomas Nelson debuted in June, 2011 to starred reviews from Library Journal and Romantic Times.  The second book, Beauty For Ashes, released  in early 2012. The third and final book, Every Perfect Gift, released at the end of 2012. CAROLINA GOLD, Dorothy’s next novel, a stand alone historical, was published in 2013. Her latest novel, THE BRACELET, released in December. A RESPECTABLE ACTRESS, releasing next month, was just named a 4.5 star Top Pick by Romantic Times. Dorothy shares a home in the Texas hill country with her husband and two golden retrievers. She loves chatting with readers through her website: or her author page on Facebook:

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Page Turner Deadline In a Month and a Half

Autumn (on this side of the world, anyway)  is nearly upon us. And for FaithWriters folks, that can mean only one thing – the deadline for the ninth annual Page Turner Contest is sneaking up on us. In a mere six and a half weeks, the opportunity to be considered for a publishing package for your fiction manuscript will be gone – for two years! (Next year’s contest will focus on nonfiction)

Maybe you’ve got a half-written manuscript gathering dust in the bottom of your desk. Perhaps it’s something you wrote during NaNoWriMo last year. It could even be an idea that’s been brewing in the back of your mind for years. Whatever the stage of your novel, this contest may be just the nudge you need to get writing and polishing – but you only have until the end of October to get your entry ready.

Any Platinum member (click here to upgrade) is eligible to enter the first chapter and a synopsis of their fiction manuscript with a Christian worldview in this contest by the October 31, 2015 deadline. The winner will receive a $500 cash prize, free editing of their manuscript, the offer of traditional publishing with Breath of Fresh Air Press, free publicity and marketing of their book on all FaithWriters’ sites for twelve months following publication, and a Page Turner Champion award plaque. Two runners up will each receive $50 cash, a Page Turner award plaque, and consideration for future publication by Breath of Fresh Air Press. You can find more details here – and even more here if you are already a platinum member.

So, get busy on your manuscript – time is running out!

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151832There are some pictures I still can’t look at without choking up, without mourning. Without forgetting Who is in control. But no matter what I remember, it’s still true. He is sovereign of our days and nights. Of our blessings and curses. Of good and evil. And we rejoice in all he has done over the last fourteen years. May we NEVER forget the reason for Patriot Day.

Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails   and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior. Habakkuk 3:17-18.


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What Are You Saying?

What Are You Saying?

By Annagail Lynes

“Open wide your mouth and I will fill it.” (Psalm 81:10, NIV)

I hate talking on the phone.

I have to call people every day at work. I have to order their medication. I needed updated insurance information. Are they still on a certain medication? Do they need me to refill it?

I don’t mind doing podcasts, but I can’t talk in public without looking at someone, even if it is myself in the mirror.

The anxiety comes from not knowing what to say. Even with notes, detailed notes, I still find myself anxious when it comes to speaking in public or to speaking to people on the phone who I know might have a bad reaction.

Writing is easier for me because I pray, “Lord, as I start to write, let Your words flow instead of mine,” before I write.

I have prayed this prayer over my writing for almost twenty years.

According to the Scripture above, I am challenged to pray, “Lord, as I start to speak, let Your words flow instead of mine.”

He promises that if I open my mouth, He will fill it.

We have to remember that everything we say, everything we write, everything we communicate, needs to be Godly, needs to be true and kind and lovely and of a good report.

Our words are a representation of our Father God.

Let’s open our mouths and let Him fill our mouths with the words He has to say.

Annagail Lynes is a published author, pharmacy technician and starting her business as a life coach. Her work has been published in 21st Century, SeaLetter, Christian Home and School, You! and many more online and offline publications.

To learn more about her, go to

Article Source: WRITER

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How an Author Handles Doubt

How Authors Handle Doubt

by Megan DiMaria
Some days it’s difficult to feel confident about your writing. Fears pop up like dandelions after the first spring rain.
Those worries and questions play on a loop in your brain:
  • *Is this good enough to be published?
  • *Does it make sense?
  • *Will anyone want to read it?
  • *Do I sound ridiculous?
  • *Am I wasting my time?
  • *Will I ever be pleased with this project?

And on and on and on . . .

I’m not the first writer to have these doubts. And I won’t be the last.

Want to know how writers handle these doubts?

They keep writing!

They remember what got them started in the first place. Look inside yourself. Recall the dream that pushed tender sprouts out of the soil of your heart. Recall the delight you experienced in claiming that big dream. Dig Deep to reclaim your passion again. 

Believe again!

It’s not over until God says it’s over. Start dreaming again. Start pursuing what God put in your heart.

Listen, no one knows better than I how discouragement can creep up on you and squeeze the life out of your dreams. But if the Author of dreams has planted one in your heart, then don’t give up!


As for me, I shall remain~

A Prisoner of Hope!

Megan dimariaMegan DiMaria is an author and speaker who enjoys cheering on other writers. One of her speaking presentations is an in-depth study designed to encourage, refresh, and minister to writers as they pursue the journey of publication. She’d love to join to your next writer’s retreat and share the (hard-earned!) wisdom and encouragement she’s accumulated on her own writing journey.Megan is an active member of several writers groups and is the author of two women’s fiction novels, Searching for Spice and Out of Her Hands. Visit Megan online at her blog at
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Save the Date: July 15-16, 2016 – FW Writer Celebration!

Save the date! 15-16 July 2016.

Join us in McDonough, Georgia for the FaithWriters’ Celebration for Writers.

Thank you to the gracious people of First Baptist Church, McDonough, for so willingly hosting our gathering.

This is not going to be a heavy conference. In fact, we aren’t calling it a conference at all. This will be a place to fellowship with other writers, get hands on experience, write with likeminded people, get feedback, develop new skills, and have lots of fun.

If you are planning to attend, and are skilled in a particular genre or style (fiction, poetry, scriptwriting, songwriting, writing for children, etc), please let Deb Porter know if you would like to act as leader for a hands on group. The aim is to avoid lectures and keep everything very social and hands on, but as specific as possible to the various writing styles.

We will also make plenty of time during the event for people to share about their books, and we will also have room for everyone to sell their books. More on that later.

Stay tuned as details unfold. For now, just save that date. This is going to be fun.

Can’t wait!!

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Is Everything Worth Doing Worth Overdoing?

Is Everything Worth Doing Worth Overdoing?

By Shari Weigerstorfer

Is everything worth doing, worth overdoing? According to the Holy Spirit, apparently not.

We struggled over an article I was writing. I had written the basic concept. It was a revelation of relevance, a beautiful gem of wisdom. After I had finished the rough draft, the battle of the wills began:

I wanted another week to work on it. According to Him, it was finished.

I wanted it to be polished to perfection and to shine with an artistic flair. He wanted the point to come across and not be lost and overshadowed by too many words.

I wanted to decorate it. He wanted it left plain.

I repeated a favorite motto: “Perfection is the goal, excellence will be tolerated!” He replied, It’s good enough for what it’s for.

After consideration, I realized my ego was the problem. I wanted readers to notice the messenger. He wanted them to notice the message.

Then the questions came:

Who are you writing for?

Well, actually, I’m writing for You.

Who is your audience?

I have no idea. Only You know where this article may go and who will read it.

Why did I show you that revelation?

So I could pass it on.

And why do I want you to leave well enough alone?

Because if I work on it too much, I can dilute the meaning and distract from the message.

So what have you learned?

I’ve learned that not everything worth doing should be overdone. That You have plans and purposes beyond my knowledge. And most importantly, that I am the pen and not the writer.

Shari Weigerstorfer is a free-lance Christian writer, native to the West Coast of America. When not indulging in her passion for travel, she writes from her home in Singapore. Other articles by Shari can be found on her site at

Article Source: WRITER


Frequent the FaithWriters Forums

Have you spent much time at the FaithWriters Forums lately? If not (or even if you have),  there are several reasons you might want to drop by.

Be sure to read (or reread) the forums posting rules in the Welcome and Info for Using The Forums area before you get started. And stay in that part of the message boards to check out FaithWriters’ announcements, find answers to frequently asked questions, or learn more about the FaithWriters Celebration being planned for next summer.

Looking for writing tips, opportunities, critiques, or lessons by some of FaithWriters’ most awarded writers? Check out the Writing Discussion and Information area. Cheer on friends’ writing successes, ask questions about writing, participate in Jan Ackerson’s latest writing lesson, or find an available freelance writing opportunity. It’s all here!

For those of you interested in the FaithWriters Writing Challenge, there’s a large area of the forums just for you. Here you can get more details about the topic of the week, see the schedule, check out the winners of past weeks, and check out progress on upcoming challenge books. OH – and don’t forget to stop by to throw your brick when you do enter!

There are also areas with all kinds of information for upgraded members, and for those who just want to participate in a general discussion, whether about theology issues, prayer requests, or just getting to know other FaithWriters members (and be sure to jump into one of the fun threads in the Water Cooler – yuck or yum? is entertaining – and ask, and answer, a question of fellow FWers).

There’s lots to do – and learn – at the FaithWriters forums. Why don’t you pop over and say hello?



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A Couple Techniques to Help Your Writing Shine

There are a lot of different ways to take an idea and get it down on paper – and probably just as many to take a draft and help make it shine. Just search the Internet, and you will find articles on everything from tightening your writing to expanding it, from the use of repetition to ways to remove it. In other words, there is no right way to “fix” your piece.

But I’ve come across a few ideas that can help you take your writing to a higher (or at least more polished) level. No promises they will work for you – but they help me.

But first – just so you know, these are not meant to be implemented when you are starting to write your piece. Don’t worry about things like flow and sentence structure when you’re first getting your words down on paper. But once you have something, and you want to clean it up and make it better, try one of these tips. Who knows – it could take your writing from great to fantastic.


It’s amazing what kinds of things you catch in your writing when you are actually reciting the words. Missing words scream at you. Choppy sentences become so much more noticeable. Inconsistencies you missed when reading to yourself can be heard loud and clear. Even better – have someone else read it to you – and take notes. You can catch places where they stumble or seem confused, and go back and improve the flow (this is especially important when you are writing for children, by the way – as often these books ARE read aloud. But flow is a key component of all writing besides technical manuals). Text to speech programs work too, though you won’t get quite as good an indication of flow.


You probably don’t realize it, but you have several favorite words – comfortable ones – that you use frequently in your writing. Some of them, most likely TOO frequently. For instance, when I write fiction, my characters sigh a lot. And I mean A LOT. Every page or two a lot. Other people might overuse the word “that,” or repeatedly use “very” when a stronger word might be more effective. You get the idea.

The problem is: how do we figure out what these words are? You could use search in your word processor if you have a good idea what you might be overusing (or check this list of commonly overused words, and search for them) – or you could use one of my two favorite tools for discovering how often you use certain words:  TagCrowd and Wordle. Just take your text, paste it in the box, and it will show you a picture of the most commonly used words. Once you know, you can decide what to do with that information.

Another type of repetition to look for is sentence structure. Do most of your sentences sound pretty much the same? Try rearranging some of them, or combining shorter, related ones into compound sentences. Vary sentence length. The possibilities are endless.

Give these ideas a try – you never know what technique might take your writing from good to great!

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Stay Tuned: Writer Celebration Next Summer!

If you have been hanging around the FaithWriters Forums or the FaithWriters Facebook group lately,  you probably know that there has been talk of some sort of in-person get-together of FaithWriters folks in the future. Well, it’s official. It will be happening!

While dates and details are not yet firmed up, the FaithWriters Writer Celebration/Gathering will be happening in July 2016 in McDonough, Georgia (about half an hour south of Atlanta). According to Deb Porter (the face of FaithWriters and so many other things),  this is not going to be a “conference,” as such, but rather a gathering of the FaithWriters’ family, to help, encourage, and love on one another. A place to develop skills, learn some new ones, or just hang out with likeminded people and get some writing done. Very low key. No class room type lessons.

God willing, Deb herself will be there to spend one on one time with you regarding your manuscripts, and will be looking for fresh talent to publish. There is also talk of small groups of hands on subjects led by attendees with experience in that subject, and other writing groups of like-minded people (poets, songwriters, novelists, etc.). Lots happening, but you can do as much or as little as you want. Fellowship is just as important.

But most important of all, this will be a time to be blessed and be a blessing. FaithWriters members sharing their skills with one another and having lots of fun at the same time.

The date has not been set in concrete yet, so stay tuned for more details as they unfold. Watch the blog, plus the FW Writer Celebration area on the FaithWriters forums, for updates. And, God willing – see ya in July!


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