Yesterday at my reading, I first read the 2500 short story that I wrote on Friday, and then the opening to the novel that’s it’s linked too, one that takes place about a hundred years later. (1915 / 2015). Charlie Jane suggested that it’d work to do a novel that moved back and forth between the two time periods, and it might, but I don’t think it’s what I’m going to do. In part because I have other plans (mwah hah hah), but also in because it seems like it’s so difficult to maintain reader engagement with a past timeline.
Jed and I have argued about this before — he has much less patience for flashbacks than I do. Usually, I do quite a bit of slipping around in time, and I find it useful. But I’m watching Arrow right now, and they’ve been committed from the beginning to this past timeline, and I just find it incredibly boring. I have no interest in the Russian gangster storyline, and it takes up probably half of the show this season. Is this a problem inherent to a flashback storyline, or did they just do a poor job of giving me stakes I care about in that story?