Recall Writing

Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by Gypzee, Nov 13, 2017.

  1. Gypzee

    Gypzee Acolyte

    5
    0
    1
    My character in the present day is recalling her past. I have a question how to write those scenes.

    Laughing he said, "Ye think too hard about things." He kissed her forehead and then her lips.
    -OR-
    Laughing he says, "Ye think too hard about things." He kisses her forehead and then her lips.

    Not a lot of difference, but yet is :)

    Thanks for your input.
     
  2. Heliotrope

    Heliotrope Staff Article Team

    1,944
    1,272
    163
    Either works. Is the rest of the story in past tense, or present tense?
     
  3. Gypzee

    Gypzee Acolyte

    5
    0
    1
    It starts in the present & a wedding invitation starts recalling memories. As she travels & what not in the present, she's remembering different times of her life & experiences.
     
  4. Heliotrope

    Heliotrope Staff Article Team

    1,944
    1,272
    163
    Yeah, I think I need more context to be helpful. Could you post more of the passage? A bit of what comes before and after?
     
  5. TheCrystallineEntity

    TheCrystallineEntity Dark Lord

    1,455
    346
    83
    In the entirety of Part 3 of my fourth book, it alternates between things that are going on presently, and a flashback of sorts to things that happened when the planet was newly made; the former in the present tense as always, and the latter in the past tense.
     
  6. Mytherea

    Mytherea Journeyman

    43
    29
    18
    Just on tenses, if the story is in past tense, I'd say use past perfect (Laughing, he had said/he had kissed her) to establish that, until otherwise stated, the following takes place before the present. I'd say you shouldn't have to keep using the past perfect once that's established, though you might want to close the flashback with it if it's not immediately clear that the story has transitioned to the present again--or write a different transition which does. (So, for example, using your example, "Laughing he had said, 'Ye think too hard about things.' He kissed her forehead and then her lips.") If the present is in present tense, either past tense or past perfect (definitely not present though, 'cause then it might end up becoming confusing at what point is what event taking place in the overall timeline). I've seen it done both ways for present tense. The key for it would be consistency so you don't get readers saying you slipped tenses by mistake. Once it happens more than once the same way, in the same manner, to herald a flashback, it should be clear for the rest of the story.
     
    FifthView and Heliotrope like this.
  7. Michael K. Eidson

    Michael K. Eidson Grandmaster

    532
    279
    63
    It depends on the effect and mood you're after. In my WIP, I have almost everything in past tense. The main story and stories of the past are distinguished by context.
     
  8. Penpilot

    Penpilot Staff Article Team

    2,813
    1,504
    163
    Yeah, I agree with Helio here, it's hard to parse out what you're having trouble with without more context.

    But in general, with narrative your allowed to drift into memory and thought, whether it's a full flashback or just someone drifting into a snippet of memory. The key is the segue into and out of those things. It has to be natural and smooth, like transitions in a movie. If they're too abrupt or poorly executed, it throws the audience out of the story.

    For example, someone drifting into a snippet of memory.

     
  9. FifthView

    FifthView Istari

    2,095
    1,318
    163
    Past perfect is an irritating thing. I myself er, ahem, recall teachers in elementary school or junior high being very strict about it. You must stay in past perfect! Don't mix your past and past perfect tenses! To this day, I still feel a very present danger when handling the types of recollection passages you mean. I'm not incredibly natural with it and have to go over everything with a fine-toothed comb during revisions.

    But I think Mytherea offers great advice. Typically for a long recall passage in an otherwise past tense narrative, you can use the past perfect to transition into the past event and then just use past tense until you decide to transition out and back to present events.

    A lot of things might modify that approach.

    How, the POV character is experiencing that flashback may also be important. Is the character moving in and out of the memories of that past event and evaluating them in the present as well? I wrote one of those in-between flashbacks recently. It transitions into and out of the past with past perfect, but in the middle I did this thing where the POV character views his own reactions and actions mostly in past perfect but his brother's actions are mostly in past tense. The idea is that he's seeing his brother as if he's "there" in the past viewing the brother and other events again, but things there make him jump back with the sudden memory of how he himself "had acted." He's caught between both past and present. It would be something like this; imagine the transition has already happened and the event with this character's sister is the memory:

    Her sister paced casually as she described the executions she had ordered. A smile touched her lips when she mentioned the young father who not only had refused her attentions but had also called her a bitch.

    Emily had sat perfectly still. She had not known how to react.

    "Are you unwell, sister? I assure you, more is to be done, and you can have a share in it." Her sister seemed genuinely concerned for the briefest moment then poured herself a cup of wine. Outside, a summer storm sent lighting across the dark patch beyond the chamber's small square window —as if hunting.

    She had had the thought: This is not my sister. They've done something to my sister. The gods have done something to my sister.

    But her sister continued describing the massacre of the Gurletti people, pacing and drinking her wine as if all was well....

    Ok, that's just spur of the moment. As I said, I usually have to go over everything carefully in revision. But even in the recollection, I went a step further into the past, before events in the flashback, with "the executions she had ordered" and "the father who not only had refused her attentions."

    One thing I worry about is having a very long recollection or flashback that is mostly in the past tense, because maybe the reader can get lost in it and I want the reader to remember this is an MC sitting at a feast being miserable in the present, heh. But sometimes I want the POV character to entirely forget where he is and have to snap out of it, and I want the reader to have to do that also.
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2017 at 3:32 PM
  10. Gypzee

    Gypzee Acolyte

    5
    0
    1
    The book begins with her daily routine, reflecting on the age of her children when they moved to this location; what they are currently into now and a short recollection of their becoming involved in their current apprenticeships. Then she goes to open the mail to find a wedding invitation, and goes into the memory of how she is related to that person. And it is pretty much back and forth between present day and what she remembers as she moves along in her travels to the wedding.

    I am questioning should the memory be read as happening then, vs it has happened...Thanks for all the feedback. It's most helpful!



    “Well, I’ll let you get to your evening. It was very good to see you again. Tell Jenny it was good to meet her,” she nodded as they made their way to the door.

    “Glad you dropped by Lady MacCarthy. Do so again should you wish,” he waved to her as she stepped out. The lock clicked behind her and the shade was pulled on the window.

    Turning, she made her way down the walk, a nod to the couple that she met. Continuing on toward the edge of town, she darted between two buildings and with a thought was back inside the Day Dream.

    She had been away from Rhydin for eight years, living under the protection of wards and spells at Tzaddi where things such as shadows – at least those that were extraordinary – were kept from its lands. That by no means prevented her own darker nature from existing; but it did inhibit it somewhat – enough for her to see more grey lines the way she did before Jax… the name slid slowly from the back of her memory to take center stage. She had not thought of him since… well, since then.


    Eyes narrowed as she recalled their meeting…

    Not long after she and Derrien were married, his ex – Suria – had some sort of blood poisoning. If the staff at The Temple were unable to cure her, Derrien wanted to sire her to save her. No, no, no… that could not happen. He seemed to still be attached to her as it was. A bond such as that would make matters worse.

    To that end she began searching for alternative sires, if that was indeed the avenue Suria chose to take. A conversation with Jax resulted in a mental-link with his sire – Morgan. She agreed to speak with Derrien about it. Relieved, she asked Jax what she owed him for his help. He said he would think on it and let her know.


    ((this))

    Lost in the depths of his emerald gaze, they leave the tavern. He leads her to the mouth of the alley, his gaze cool as he turns to face her again, his eyes immediately finding hers.

    She follows behind him, curious as to why; though the thought vanishes as their eyes meet.

    A hint of power seems to back the hunger in his gaze. As if to test the strength of his mental contact, his low voice commands, “Come closer, Gypzee.”

    She takes a step closer to him.

    The fingers of his right hand stroke her hair, pushing it back as his light touch continues down to her neck. His eyes remain on hers as if to hold her there even as his left arm slips around her waist.

    She shivers from his touch, eyes widening just a bit; but as she continues to look at him they return to normal.

    The power to his gaze is stronger now. He further exposes the left side of her neck. His voice is heavy in her ears as he whispers. “Lean your head back, Gypzee, and close your eyes.”



    She blinks slowly, a soft tug at the back of her mind; but she lifts her chin even more, her head rolling back as her eyes close.

    He pulls her body to press against his until the distance between them is no more. His cool breath brushes against her neck as he whispers to her. “Now, relax...” His lips press to her neck, the initial touch a soft kiss.

    A gasp leaves her lips, hands raise to rest at his sides.

    His fangs swiftly sink into her neck, drawing out her life as his grip tightens slightly.



    ((vs this))


    She followed behind him, curious as to why; though the thought vanished as their eyes met.

    A hint of power seemed to back the hunger in his gaze. As if to test the strength of his mental contact, his low voice commanded, “Come closer, Gypzee.”

    She stepped closer to him.

    The fingers of his right hand stroked her hair, pushing it back as his light touch continued down to her neck. His eyes remained on hers as if to hold her there even as his left arm slipped around her waist.

    She shivered from his action, eyes widen just a bit; but as she continued to look at him they returned to normal.

    The power to his gaze was stronger now. He further exposed the left side of her neck. His voice was heavy in her ears as he whispered. “Lean your head back, Gypzee, and close your eyes.”

    She blinked slowly, a soft tug at the back of her mind; but she lifted her chin even more, her head rolling back as her eyes closed.

    He pulled her body to press against his until the distance between them was no more. His cool breath brushed against her neck as he whispered to her. “Now, relax...” His lips pressed to her neck, the initial touch a soft kiss.

    A gasp left her lips, hands raised to rest at his sides.

    His fangs swiftly sank into her neck, drawing out her life as his grip tightened slightly.

    If only he had stopped with this one encounter, her life now would be very different, she thought as she turned the chair to gaze out across the garden.



     
Loading...

Share This Page