Flashbacks are a controversial device in movies nowadays. I’ve heard a lot of screenwriters be adamantly opposed to them. “They’re a lazy way to relay information,” those against them argue. We’ve all seen movies in which we’re jolted out of a story by a flashback. My take is that they’re useful cinematic devices and not just for giving backstory.
Last week I wrote about Billy Wilder’s life and how it can inspire us to get through some of the emotional obstacles we face as writers. One of the things I admire about Wilder was his ability to continually learn from the masters, in his case, from his mentor Ernst Lubitsch. Every Wilder fan has heard about the famous Lubitsch touch, but what did Wilder mean by it? Here’s a great video in which Billy Wilder himself explains it:
You don’t want to be that guy who writes cookie-cutter women. As a good writer you want ALL your characters to be real, believable, and relatable. After all, the more your audience identifies with your fictional peeps, the more captivated they’ll be by your story.
I know it’s a challenge, but just because you only have one X chromosome doesn’t mean you can’t breathe life into your women. Other male writers were able to pull this off back when most men considered women lesser creatures and hardly bothered to care about what we were thinking. The effort can be rewarding. Just ask Flaubert. Emma Bovary is such a compellingly human character that he went down into the annals of literary greatness. So here are some tips: