View Full Version : Excerpt. Flashback and tenses.

December 9th, 2010, 11:28 PM
Here is a flashback in my novel. How does it sound? Not so sure about the tenses.

The winter was much like life; it always began with a light snow fall – beautiful, kind, gentle. “Look it’s snowing” someone would say and we would all shout excitedly and run outside to greet it. We would build forts and make new friends, go back inside for a hot cocoa and quickly come out to start over again. “Cody” my mom would call out from the front door, “Cody you forgot your hat”. “I don’t want it” I would reply. It wasn’t enough to just “be” anymore; how quickly we had to prove something.
The boy I had been playing with had brought a shovel of his own. I didn’t ask; I liked it and I wanted it. I grabbed it from him. Knowing that he was powerless to stop me, he sat helplessly in the snow and cried out: “Cody give it back, its mine, it’s not fair”. Who had ever told him to be upset when life was unjust? “Share the shovel Cody” my mom would ask tenderly; she had come out of the house into the yard with my hat in hand, determined that I wear it. I would ignore her and keep playing. “Cody, what did I say?” she would say, slightly annoyed. I would keep ignoring her and hum a tune. She would have lost her patience: “Cody, you’re going to give me that shovel right this minute”. I couldn’t ignore her anymore: “No” I barked back. She came quickly over to me and went for the shovel. “No” I yelled and I hit her against her side with the shovel. She would bite her lip in anger, grab the shovel, smack me against the face and say, the worst possible thing she could ever say: “you just wait until daddy comes home”. She then grabbed my hand and pulled me across the garden towards the front door. As I slid on my back I could see the other boy run towards the abandoned shovel and then skip back towards the fort we had made; he didn’t care that I was being punished; it was all his now. It was the first time I felt hate.
The days would become longer, colder, darker. Winter would no longer be playful perfect, it would become mean and viscous. The snow would continue to fall and fall; the wind would grow louder and more powerful, thrashing at those who dared to face it. It was only a matter of time before no one would be able to stand it anymore.

December 10th, 2010, 06:33 PM
If your mom calling from the door was a particular instance and didn't happen every time you'd go out, you should first make an introduction to that day somehow--something preceding the events with this kid and the shovel. The way you have it, it sounds as if the hat thing happened every time you went out. Make a new paragraph for it as well, and replace "would call" with "had called." Again, during all that second paragraph it should be "had," not "would."

As for the last paragraph, I believe the use of "would" is correct here.

December 10th, 2010, 06:39 PM
did you want a critique on the writing, or just if it sounds good?

ooops - edited in later - I liked the passaged but it could be tightened. The character felt drawn in well as well as the scene.

thanks for the read

oh as for the flashback, sure it works perfected past tense would be a good thought to put this in, not overly so, but since its a flashback, i take its just a small reflection? there are ways to show past without too many 'had/was' you have to watch the personal pronouns though