Flashing back into the past. Perfect.

Kaal was listening to the latest DRS podcast. Excellent and humorous as always.

They were chatting about several topics including tenses and flashbacks. Always an interesting topic, because the technique can be a real bugger.

It’s often the transition that kicks people out,” he said to the cat, who regarded him sceptically. “No, really, Mojo! Think about it, they’re talking mainly about present to past tense shifts, which are seriously irritating for most people.”

The cat remained nonplussed and returned to staring out the window.

Kaal knew he had seen something about this before. Probably Grammar Girl’s Quick & Dirty Tips. He remembered reading about seguing into flashback by using the past perfect (or pluperfect, if you prefer) tense and then continuing to write normally in the past tense for the rest of that scene. It was something that he, personally, didn’t find jarring so long as it was handled fairly gently. Now, transitioning out of a flashback – from something he had been thinking about beforehand to the current time – which is still described in the past tense? That was something else.

One of Mojo’s claws spiking Kaal’s leg certainly helped. The DRS lads still weren’t talking about past perfect, but that was OK. They were, sensibly enough, finishing on a warning that flashbacks should only be used sparingly, and at need.


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