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Free Writing Tips

The Co-op is pleased to present free writing tips from Julie Bogart, the creator of the popular Brave Writer writing curriculum.

Facing the past

A flashback is a part of a story where the action shifts from the present to a point in the past, which can be mere hours ago or many years ago. If the story is told in the first person ("I dashed towards the door and burst through it"), then a flashback is usually the main character’s memories, but if it's in the third person ("He sat down and glared at me") then it usually involves one character talking about his or her memories to another.

Sometimes a flashback can stall the story unless the information provided helps readers understand what is going on. But it also can add back-story, explaining characters’ actions by showing their past, and revealing new things about the story in the present. Give it a try with your kids and see what happens.

For example, Sue sat down and suddenly her thoughts took her to that day when she turned thirteen and her best friend . . . At this point flash back to that scene when Sue was thirteen and describe it as though it is happening now. To move from the past back to the present, create a little transition such as: Sue drifted to the present when the phone rang.

You might also study flashbacks with your kids in published stories to see how they add to the development of the characters.
on writing and language arts curriculum from Brave Writer -- by and for homeschoolers!
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