My husband and I recently saw the movie “Salt”. Don’t worry, I won’t ruin the ending, but I do want to talk a bit about why this movie didn’t make my Top Five for the year (I’m not even sure it’s in the Top Ten).
I loved the action and the battles. The plot was a bit predictable, but I can handle that as long as the movie is entertaining. What really bothered me, though, was the back story/info dump.
At every writing conference or class that I’ve attended, people say to avoid flashbacks. The can work for the truly talented (and experienced) writer, but most of the time they end up being big chunks of story that stop the action just to dump some info on the reader. I’ve heeded the advice and keep the flashbacks out of my writing, but it’s never really bothered me when I read it in other novels. I never understood all of the fuss…until now.
There’s a lot about “Salt” that I enjoyed, but I had a hard time getting into it because of the flashbacks. Action! Gunfire! Running! Butterfly garden, two years ago…wait, what? Like riding in a stick shift with an inexperienced driver, it cruised, then stalled. Gas. Brake. Whip. Lash. For the first time I can say that the flashbacks really annoyed me – I wanted it to keep moving!
So if you’ve ever wondered about why flashbacks don’t always work, check out “Salt”, a good movie with too many pauses.