Does it deserve a complete chapter as a flashback?

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Post by Guest »

I have a dilemma.

In the novel I’m writing, one of the main character’s flaws is his fear of losing somebody under his command, after an accident that resulted in a lieutenant directly below him being killed.

As part of his journey as a person he needs to talk about it to his love interest in order to release some of the guilt he’s been carrying.

The scene I wrote for this was him telling his love interest about it, but I kinda feel like maybe I should expand on it more.

Does it deserve a complete chapter as a flashback? Or should I leave it as it is and maybe put the expanded story to one side as a future novella or short story?

Post by Christina »

You could have it come out more during their interactions. Like they’re asleep and he has a nightmare about it. Someone gets minorly hurt while doing an everyday task and he overreacts to it, etc.

Post by William »

Definitely sounds like something I would want to see as a reader even in flashback form.

Post by Rachael »

You could write a chapter for a flashback, or you can do snippets of the flashback through the story, hinting at this trauma from his past. Is there something that triggers the memory? An object, a smell, etc. Maybe he comes across things that trigger the flashback but something else interrupts it and cuts him back to reality, or he wakes himself from a nightmare about the flashback. That way when he does open up, the reader gets the whole flashback the same time the love interest does.

Post by Will »

I would offer that it depends on two things:
A) is the backstory necessary or helpful to the story you’re writing currently? If it’s essential to the MC’s development, keep it in the chapter.
B.) Could you fit the backstory into its own chapter clearly and concisely? If not, you might summarize the event and keep it as a novella later. If so, I would opt for including it.
Either way, you might not know until you write it as a chapter and then evaluate how it fits with the whole story.
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