I use flashbacks to show rather than just tell through dialogue a person’s background. My books are designed like a psychological profile of each character in a story-telling way.
I want to show why a person turned out the way they did.
“A slight breeze whistled through the trees, a lone branch brushed against the windowpane.
A silhouette filled the doorway, it stood there for a moment. Seeming as if frozen in time. Footsteps drew nearer, a hand brushed across her face. Whispers murmured in the silent room.
Fingers grazed her cheek. She held her breath, waiting, terrified if she allowed herself to breathe, he would stay.
Moments passed. Crying in the distance could be heard. Then just as quickly as he materialized, he was gone. The touch of his fingers burning her flesh.”
The young boy lay terrified on an iron bed. An uncompassionate nurse wouldn’t meet his eyes as she separated his thighs and hog-tied him to the bed. His heart thudded in his ribcage, his mouth felt dry, his little body started to tremble. The little boy remembered how Charles Dickens spoke of a similar ordeal. ‘“I suffered agonies, as they related all to me, and did violence to myself in keeping to my seat.’”
Still to this day he blamed his grandmother for his disfigurement. Like these sluts that wandered the streets at night, she too enjoyed sexual intercourse out of wedlock. The horrid bitch had passed this contagious blood poison on to him. Only for him, instead of enjoying intercourse, he suffered day-by-day, knowing how maimed he was. Knowing that it was their fault he was like this.
How he hated them, all of them. And he knew this was what he was destined to do. Rid the world of these people that carried this genetic disorder, passing it from one generation to the next. And others ending up like he. This was his destiny.”
“Screaming still pierced the air. The mocking laughter echoing throughout the cold stone passageway. Only one small window in each cell allowed a faint illumination of the sun. Time seemed to stand still here. But perhaps that was a good thing. If time didn’t move forward, perhaps they wouldn’t come for him.”
“Petrified eyes following his every movement. Trailing his fingers down one of her arms, his tongue circled his lips. Tight restraints restricted her movements. Arms high above her head. Hog-tied—just like the others. Nowhere to escape. Under his control… Her body already spoke that this man had been here a while.
He couldn’t think about that now. There would be worse to come if he didn’t act.
The man held the knife firmly to his throat, as he back-tracked towards the wall. He could smell it. Feel the enjoyment this man was getting. Fury, disgust, hatred welled up inside him.
It didn’t matter if he died, as long as he could save her.
With all his might, he pushed backwards, shoving the man into the wall. A shower of glass rained down on the floor.
Seizing the opportunity, he elbowed the man in the gut. Pulling away, he rapidly grabbed a piece of broken glass. Spinning around to face the man.”
These are just a few examples how I use flashbacks to portray a character’s background in Initiated to Kill. Flashbacks can vividly display the past, without taking away from what is happening in the present. Instead, adding to the suspense.