Saturday, September 21, 2013

Flashbacks add structure to debut novel

The Eight Sentences
"Not many shooters — regardless of sex — have the resume I’ve acquired, my vision is remarkable for any human. When I chose this career, it was obvious that I would never be in the limelight. I’ll be happy to be just as anonymous as you.” Claudia had resigned herself to anonymity even before the choice of professions. She had taken herself out of the fight for women’s rights with the selection of careers. She couldn’t attract attention to herself advocating any issue publicly and then hope to reach the upper echelons of her craft. She could, and did, find ways to make financial contributions to the cause. After her first few jobs, she had stashed away enough funds to live happily ever after — when and — if she ever retired.

The Back Story
      Readers meet professional assassin, Claudia Barry, when she's sixty-two years old and considering retirement. How do we tell her story and establish her current status without some flashbacks?
My original manuscript was cluttered and confusing due to the flashbacks.
My editor/publisher had a brilliant idea. Divide the book into sections and open each one with a flashback related to, or supporting the action in that section.
Remember the movie, Fried Green Tomatoes? It was structured similarly.

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  1. What an intriguing character - a 62 year old assassin - fantastic idea! Also love the idea of your editor -- good thinking. Great 8.

  2. She's such a fascinating character, really enjoying the story. another excellent excerpt!

  3. The opening line for this snippet is fantastic. It really pulls the reader into the character. Great job!

  4. I like Claudia. She's practical and knows how to make hard choices---no wonder she survived to retirement!

    Th structure makes a lot of sense to me, too. Thanks for sharing that, too.

  5. Sounds like a tough row to hoe, but a rewarding one for women's rights. Great snippet, Frank. :)

  6. She sounds absolutely fascinating. I love the idea for the structure. Sounds great!

  7. I really like Claudia! As a woman of a certain age (cough, cough), its nice to see a realistic portrayal. And the last line made me laugh out loud!

  8. I like it, Chip! Great idea to add an older female assassin to the story-- instant interest. She's not a run of the mill character. :-) And I love how you've included a bit of structuring problem-solving. Thanks!

    I've read a couple chapters of your book (posted online). It's very good! I wish I had more time to sit at the computer and read. I'll get back to it soon.

  9. Intriguing to see that she still kept on working even though she had enough money for retiring.

  10. This is delightful. I work with the "older" population (Physical Therapy/Rehab), and I love all the "characters" I meet. It wouldn't surprise me if one day I encounter an assassin, though I'll never know...she'll probably tell me she's a paper salesperson : )

  11. So sorry I missed commenting on this yesterday.
    I wonder what compels her to embark on a new profession at her age with all the money she needs. Intriguing. Also intriguing is her vision "remarkable for any human." Your writing is great, so's the snippet.

    1. Ooops! Something got lost in translation. 8 sentences aren't usually enough and sometimes the back-story is lacking, sorry.
      Claudia has been a professional assassin for over 30 years and she's considering retiring now. This snippett was a flash back to the beginning. She became a sniper right out of college.

  12. Love the idea of a female assassin in her sixties---and still working, and the glimpse into her life adds meat to the character. Nice job Frank. Thanks for sharing the tip from your publisher too. It helps to see the inner workings that comes with publishing.
    History Sleuth's Milk Carton Murders