This is a story submitted as part of the Flashback week competition. It’s a Babylon 5 story written by Sarah Xanxa Bartlett, the roleplaying game is called ‘Beyond Babylon’, and is played on Facebook.
So you want to know what a Centauri is doing in the Anla’shok? Well, I’m not the only one, but that’s not my story to tell. First of all, I’m not pure Centauri, in fact I’m half Minbari on my mother’s side, so my entrance into the world was bound to be controversial anyway. So many questions were asked about how I came to be conceived when Centaurii and Minbarii are physically incompatible. Well, love conquers all, as the old saying goes, and with much consultation of Technomages and other shady figures, I came to exist.
In my last article I explained that flashbacks are great ways to help build your character, and they’re also really great fun to write because it gives you a totally open canvas to put your character anywhere and in any situation. If you’re writing about them with others as part of a roleplaying game, this can sometimes be quite a difficult thing to do, because you’ll have to get everyone else to agree that the story is taking a turn in the direction you want it to. But as anyone who’s ever done collaborative writing knows, the story won’t always go in that direction!
You might need some inspiration for flashback week if you want to create a really good back-story for your character, and want to enter the competition. We’ve shown you movies with flashbacks in them before, but there’s just so many, so here are some more to inspire you to write your own!
Eternal Sunshine of the spotless mind
Despite not flashbacks in the conventional sense of cinema, we see glimpses of the main character’s life (Jim Carey), including many moments he shared with his girlfriend (Kate Winslet) as they are being erased by a company he’s paid to eradicate memories of their relationship.
Only a few days to go now until the start of Flashback week, and already the response has been positive! I’ve chatted to a few GMs of roleplaying games, who’ve told me they’ve spread word to their members about the Flashback week competition, and even planned their own smaller, in-game competitions. A great way to do this is if your game is on OngoingWorlds is to use the awards, that’s what they were created for!
But Flashback week isn’t just about winning the competition, there’s also a decent reason for using flashbacks in your story; it helps develop your character.
Flashback week is a great opportunity to write some back-story for your character (more details here), but more than that it’s a chance to enter your stories into a competition! Simply write your flashback story and then send it to us, for a chance to win!
This competition is now closed. See the announcement about the winners here.
Flashback week is a week-long writing event where writers and roleplayers are encouraged to think about something that happened in their characters past, and write it as a flashback. Flashback week 2011 is now over, but will be coming back next year. You can see all Flashback articles here.
This article has moved to our new blog where you’ll find all articles about Flashback week here.
The OngoingWorlds event “Flashback week” has now ended. But this doesnt mean you have to stop writing your flashbacks!
The event encouraged you to write a flashback to your character’s past, to possibly explain something about your character for the purpose of character building. You can find the original article explaining flashback week here. Also for some inspiration and encouragement I posted an article with 10 ideas for a character flashback and also 7 movies that use flashbacks to show more of the plot, or better develop a character.
I’ve heard from many people who have been inspired to write Flashbacks for Flashback week, which is absolutely brilliant!
Unfortunately there were many people who heard about Flashback week late in the week and just weren’t able to write a post in time, so I’ve extended the event to two weeks.
Really this was my fault for not promoting the event ahead of time, and also a week just might not be long enough to give people. Some people have busy lives so don’t have time to post once a week, so if we repeat this event or create similar events I think we’ll make them 2 weeks long by default.
If you’re having trouble coming up with ideas for your character’s flashback, I’ve posted some ideas here.
This article was written in Flashback week to hopefully give you some ideas of what to post about in your character’s Flashback.
Here’s some ideas:
Explain how you got that scar
If your character is the rough, rugged type they might have an impressive scar on their face. The scare probably comes with a story where they fought a great beast, or a bitter enemy. That’s a great story to tell.
Trouble with the law
Is your character a troublemaker? Have they always been like this? You might want to show the first time they had a run-in with the law, maybe for committing a small crime and got caught, or had a narrow escape. They could be even younger and were always getting into trouble with a teacher for shenanigans in the playground. It would be a great contrast if your character is now a calm, law-abiding citizen to show that they once had a rebellious streak and often got in trouble with the law, maybe this is what set them on the straight and narrow.
As part of Flashback Week, encouraging you to write flashbacks about the early life of your own characters, here are some films which also include character flashbacks.
A son tries to learn more about his dying father, who is renowned for telling ridiculous stories which are always blown out of proportion. The flashbacks show his father’s early life and how he met his wife. Details in each flashback are exaggerated, due to the father’s ability to embellish his stories.
Flashbacks show Mafia chief Michael Corleone’s father Vito, showing how he came from Sicily in his youth in the early 1900’s to the founding of the Corleone family in New York in 1925. These flashbacks are more substantial than most, and take up almost half of the film. The flashbacks of Vito Corleone are an interesting parallel to his son Michael Corleone in the 1950’s who is trying to expand the family business into Las Vegas, Hollywood and Cuba.