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Though any remark from an agent or editor was appreciated as a feedback, and critique, one of the most painful remarks was "need character development." Much of these referred to my short story submissions in the 1990s, on several of the many past rejections. The writing into the story of the "back story" is tricky. When and where does one feed the bits and snippets in? I am reading a new novel, "The Vesuvius Isotope," a first person narration, which uses past flashbacks in italics interspersed in chapters as the story progresses. I've not written that way, but it does work. Though not using italics, I have written a novel as a flashback story, with alternating present and flashback chapters, then at two thirds of way, the past meets present and then presses on to conclusion. The italics flashback is not exactly a new approach. Hemingway's "The Snows of Kilimanjaro" uses those italics flashbacks interspersed in almost fifty percent of that twenty eight page short story. More often in recent writings, including TV and screenplays, back story is played out in conversations between characters. It is always a good study and demands some creativity. For a discussion and comments read a Limebird Writers piece at:

This post caught my attention. I still struggle with it.

Timothy J. Desmond
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