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Writing the past, present and future

How to travel seamlessly through time in your writing 

Whether it's through genre, tense or flashback – we writers love travelling through time in our fiction and creative non-fiction. This newsletter features the last events of genre month, as well as advice on time travel in all its forms. Enjoy! 

WEBINARS: Writing historical fiction (Exclusive to members) 

25 Feb 20201. Travel back in time with Tammye Huf as she looks at the elements of story an author can use to balance the twin goals of historical accuracy and creative freedom. 


Coming up soon:

FEEDBACK: March and April one-to-ones are now open for booking (10% member discount) 

Want to chat to a literary agent or book doctor about your work? Schedule a call with the expert of your choice and get tailored feedback on your writing. Warning: these will sell out fast! 


BLOG: Narrative distance definition with examples 

This is a must-read blog by Emma Darwin for anyone struggling to get to grips with tense, voice, POV and showing-not-telling. 


BURSARY: Enter for a fully-funded space on our Self-Edit Your Novel tutored course 

CLOSING 5 MARCH. Are you an under-represented writer with a first draft of a novel you’d like to polish for publication? Applications are now open for a fully-funded place on this life-changing course – please do apply.  


How to include a seamless flashback in your scene 

When wielded properly, a short flashback can help enrich characters, ground emotionally-charged scenes and help readers better understand the world they’re reading. However, used improperly, flashbacks can make readers feel a bit like riding in a car with a learner driver – shooting forwards and backwards and leaving us with whiplash.  

To keep to the driving analogy for the stick drivers out there – mastering flashbacks is a little like mastering the bite of a clutch. To avoid the jolt forwards or backwards in time, the reader needs to be lifted out of the present scene slowly – using a natural trigger point to transition so seamlessly, they shouldn’t even really twig that you’ve changed gear at all.  

My favourite triggers are based around senses – a song playing that reminds the character of a past event; the smell of their mother’s perfume etc. The flashback should then be short, interesting, and advance the action in some way, so the reader better understands the immediate situation because of it, before moving seamlessly back into the present again.  

How do you use flashbacks in your writing? Share an example from your work-in-progress in the Townhouse community, here.  

Sarah x 

Plus, don’t miss: 

Agent Submission Pack assessment (10% discount available for members)  

Getting rejected without feedback? Our expert editors can give you advice on your entire submission package to help you pinpoint what’s not working.  

Manuscript Assessment  (10% discount available for members)

Our most popular editorial service matches you to your dream editor and gives you tailored feedback on your work. It doesn’t get better than that. 

New price points added to mentoring (10% discount available for members) 

You can now buy time with our world-leading mentors in blocks of 10, 20 and 30 hours. If you’re writing or editing and would like one-to-one support and feedback from a prize-winning author or commissioning editor, do check this out.  

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