Tag Archives: Flashback Structure

World of Wonders by Robertson Davies

Synopsis: The premature baby of Fifth Business was kidnapped by roustabouts, grew up a circus performer, and has grown into the greatest magician in the world. His life story offers the final piece to the question posed in The Manticore: “Who killed Boy Staunton?” Review: Robertson Davies’s masterful Deptford Trilogy deserves to be on more must-read lists. I discovered it thanks to Reading Like a Writer by Francine Prose, and can say that Davies’s writing not only warrants Prose’s close reading, it actually provokes it…

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Such a Pretty Girl by Laura Wiess

Synopsis: After a teenage girl’s abusive father is released early from prison, she fears that she will be victimized again. Review: I hold Laurie Halse Anderson’s Speak to be the perfect YA “problem novel.” These novels take a teen in jeopardy facing off against a social issue, and show how the protagonist overcomes the situation. In the case of Speak, the protagonist has gone mute after calling the cops on a summer party, and can’t tell anybody what happened to her that night. Halse Anderson…

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Tin Angel by Shannon Cowan

Synopsis: Accused of murdering her family’s benefactor, a teenage girl caught in the legal system explains what led to her arrest and indictment. Review: Author Shannon Cowan has done a remarkable job researching the Canadian legal system viz. young adults around the time that Tin Angel takes place (late 1960s). However, the emotional component of the story never quite came together for me. Share on Facebook

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The Uses of Enchantment by Heidi Julavits

Synopsis: When Mary was 16, she may or may not have been abducted and raped by an older man, whose life was ruined by her accusations. Share on Facebook

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Contemplating Structure, Time and the First-Person

In another incarnation I spent some time teaching screenwriting, which, as you may know, is all about structure. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that there is no screenwriting without structure. Typically, that means three acts highlighting a tightly causal chain of events with linear narration. In films that utilize flashback structure, these flashbacks are usually ordered so that they unfold in a linear fashion. Even Memento, to provide a notable example of a film that plays with time, employs linear temporality…

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