“All memory is subversive,” says the writer Eduardo Galeano. In fiction, memory reveals itself as flashback.
Diving into the past can “subvert” a typical narrative in great ways–providing context, creating layered characters, disrupting a conventional storyline, and adding depth. But flashbacks also risk weighing down a novel, killing its pacing, and feeling arbitrary. In this class, we will get curious about flashbacks. When should flashbacks be inserted and why? How much memory is necessary? How can we write flashbacks that propel a story rather than paralyze it?
The lecture will focus on novel writing. It will include readings and take-home ideas to get you thinking about how flashback can be a revelatory tool.