Sunday, June 8, 2008

This Week's Writing Exercise~

Prepared by: Ruth Douillette
Reposted on: Sunday, 8 June 2008

Exercise: In less than 400 words, use one of the five senses to trigger a
flashback that will give a reader needed insight into a character. Begin by
briefly grounding your protagonist in the present, provide a sensory trigger
that brings forth a memory, and then show us the event that affected your
character. Be careful to make a smooth transition.

A flashback is a scene in a story that takes the reader back in time from
the story's current setting.

Through flashbacks, readers gain information they need to understand the
character's motives, or to understand a current conflict. Dreaming, finding
a diary or an old letter, or meeting an old friend can catapult a character
into such a recollection. Another approach is to have the character see,
smell, hear, touch, or taste something that leads to a significant memory.

A well written flashback moves the reader from the present to the past
without seeming contrived or awkward.

For this exercise use a sensory trigger to spark the flashback. Perhaps your
character smells banana bread and flashes on a childhood scene with her
grandmother. Or your character sees a candle melted to a stub and remembers
dark days when the electric bill wasn't paid.
These exercises were written by IWW members and administrators to provide structured practice opportunities for its members. You are welcome to use them for practice as well. Please mention that you found them at the Internet Writers Workshop.

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