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|| Bloodclaim ||
You know they're doin' it
18th-Feb-2008 01:05 am
So, I'm working on my first BtVS story, (either Spander or X/S/A, not sure yet) and I have most of the major plot points worked out, I am just not sure how to put them together...

As readers, when you read a future-fic AU do you prefer to get the intervening time at the beginning of the story or as flashbacks?

18th-Feb-2008 09:15 am (UTC)
I prefer it at the beginning.
18th-Feb-2008 09:23 am (UTC)
Flashbacks, baby, flashbacks!
18th-Feb-2008 11:20 am (UTC)
Well first off, let me encourage an X/S/A fic, 'cos you can never have too many of those. :)

Second, I think I'm going to go with flashbacks.
18th-Feb-2008 02:52 pm (UTC)
For me, i prefer the beginning.
18th-Feb-2008 03:09 pm (UTC)
I don't mind where it is, as long as it's not written in a big chunk that just feels like "this is scene-setting and I have to get it out of the way." If there are two or three (or more) paragraphs like that at the beginning, it can sometimes come out as being in a different style/voice, and feel like an obstacle that has to be overcome before the author gets into the main story they wanted to tell and really gets into character voice etc. (That's not to say it can't be done well at the beginning, just that I think the backstory is less prone to be chunky or out-of-voice when it's done in flashbacks.)

Flashbacks have their problems, too, of course. But I don't mind having to figure things out, as long as the flashbacks are clear enough - it can pique interest, to have the opening be obviously in a "foreign" setting and then gradually out what's going on. I guess what I'm saying is that the quality of the writing matters more to me than the structure of the fic.
18th-Feb-2008 05:42 pm (UTC)
Neither. Gwen has good suggestions above. Let us know what happened in the intervening time in bits and pieces through what the characters think and say to each other. Instead of showing us Xander's years in Africa as a big flashback designed to tell us he was held hostage as a local demigod by a primitive tribe until Spike rescued him, have Spike remind Xander at some point:

'Saved your life, didn't I?'
'Okay - and I'm thinking rescuing me from a primitive tribe deep in the heart of Darkness who wanted to make me their sacrificial demigod? Only works for so long. And three years? Is too long.'
'Bloody ingrate.'
'I'm still not bringing you breakfast in bed. But if you want to rescue me again the next time I'm in mortal peril and start the clock ticking again, I won't say no.'
'You're not going anywhere where you'll be in mortal peril!'
'Overprotective much?'
'Excuse me for not being supportive of your death wish, Harris.'
'Oh, go get your blood.'

See? That tells us Spike rescued Xander from a big deal thing three years ago - a big deal thing that left Spike so spooked about Xander dying, he's been overprotective ever since. And Xander's a little annoyed by it but tolerates it because he gets how badly scared by it Spike was.

Throwing details into the story works more neatly than long expositions that take us away from the story.
19th-Feb-2008 04:53 am (UTC)
Thank you!
18th-Feb-2008 08:00 pm (UTC)
I think your answers have shown clearly that both can work equally well. For me, there is something wonderful about the gradual revelation - little bits and pieces strewn through the narrative that slowly build into a picture of how we got here.
In part, I think its because too often people start with a big exposition up front, wanting to get the world building out of the way. The gradual reveal almost always gives more vivid details and a clearer picture in the long run.
Of course, you can do a "spoilers" thing up front behind a cut for those who like a summary first. Just a thought.
19th-Feb-2008 08:57 pm (UTC)
Hmmm, that's a hard question. For some fics it works best one way and for others it works better the other way. Whichever way fits the type of story best.

You might start out with a change, and then reveal why in flash backs. Or start with a flashback, then switch back and forth and write the story revealing the lead up to it.

There are probably 100 different ways to go about it, but the way you choose to reveal things is a part of your writing style. That's how I see it anyway:)

Every fic writer seems to have their own style, and most of the time I have no problems figuring out who wrote a fic just by the way they structure the story and the types of phrases and descriptions they use.

22nd-Feb-2008 05:46 am (UTC)
As readers, when you read a future-fic AU do you prefer to get the intervening time at the beginning of the story or as flashbacks?

It's really what you, as the writer, is more comfortable writing.
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