After reading up on flashbacks, both on this site and others, I learned that flashbacks should be used sparingly since most readers enjoy a story from A to Z. I feel very strongly about having a form of a flashback, but can't decide which would be more appropriate. I want to hook the reader by displaying the danger and darkness of my world, but I don't feel that's possible starting off with a relatively safe adolescent child.
- Full Flashback - My protagonist starts off during some event and something triggers the story to flash back to when her drama began (a number of years earlier).
- Framing the story - My protagonist starts off during some event, reflecting in how she got into this situation, and the story starts many years prior.
The problem I feel I will have is that the flashback/framing point is during the middle of my story, lets say point "M".
I could use the first method, flashback to reveal the beginning of the drama, point "A", then back to M, then from N to B,C,D and back to N. You can see how I might end up with too many jumps and turn off the reader.
The second method would be more linear, starting at M to frame her current, dark situation, jump to A. I would then tell the story linearly until point M, then continue on to point Z.
Which method would work better?
EDIT: Examples given to better express my thoughts.
Example 1: For the first method, the story would start with the character in the middle of some mess (call it conflict A). She would have a full flash back that would take her years into the past and give the read her origin, background, introduce her and other characters, but not show how she got into conflict A. The story would then come back to the present, and the plot would continue, she would go about resolving her current mess, with the reader understand a lot more about her motivation and abilities.
At some point later, she would have another full flashback, explaining more details, maybe introducing the antagonist and leading up to conflict A. Coming back to the present once more, she resolves the conflict/defeats the antagonist.
Four time jumps, roughly equal in time (years).
Example 2: Character is in conflict A and goes through a chapter's worth of plot. Story flashes back several years before conflict A, origin is explained, characters are introduced, etc. Story progresses normally until character enters conflict A. The story skips the already covered story from chapter 1, continues on as the character resolves the conflict/defeats the antagonist.
Two time jumps, one years in the past and one a couple hours into the future