Home > Lessons > Lessons from the Dark Tower #2

Lessons from the Dark Tower #2

February 18, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

Don’t be afraid to have flashbacks where the outcome is already known. Wizard and Glass (Dark Tower #4) is almost entirely the story of an event in the gunslinger’s youth. We know he lives through the events of his flashback, obviously. We also know two of his friends live through the even because he’s told us how they died and this isn’t it. We also know a friend of his does die in this story, because he’s told us that. So we already know the most salient parts of how this 700 page book ends. Yet, when I read it, all of that knowledge disappears. I worry for Roland and his friends, because I get sucked in.

That’s the lesson: make the reader care enough that enjoying the flashback is the reason for reading the flashback. The reader shouldn’t be wondering when he’s getting back to the ‘real story’; he should be devouring the flashback and hoping for more.

A caveat: Don’t try this until you’re pretty sure you have people hooked, either. Book 1 of the Series has very few flashbacks and very little backstory. By the time people read book #4, King knows they are going to stick around a while.

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