OngoingWorlds blog

News & articles about play-by-post games, for roleplayers & writers


9 more movies with character flashbacks

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! Well you can watch all your favorite movies freely at

Eternal sunshine

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.

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Flashbacks help character building

someone sleeping on bench

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.

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Flashback week competition

Flashback week - write and roleplay about your characters past

This competition is now closed. See the announcement about the winners here.
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! But you should get cracking, flashback week has already started and you only have until the 21st August, which is when the competition closes!

Who will judge the competition?

We’ve chosen a panel of 6 roleplaying professionals to judge these stories. Each is a veteran of a different roleplaying game, so there shouldn’t be any favouritism or bias. Just so there’s no lobbying going on, the identity of the judges will be kept secret!

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Why flashbacks are important

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 is the 2nd week in August, starting Sunday the 14th. I’ve been spreading the word, to encourage writers and roleplayers to all write flashbacks together in that week. Here’s an article written by Mike, GM of Wizards Inc on why he thinks flashbacks are important.

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Announcing Flashback week

Flashback week - write and roleplay about your character's past

Last year we announced the first ever ‘Flashback Week’ a week-long writing event where writers and roleplayers were encouraged to think about something that happened in their characters past. The event isn’t held anywhere, there’s no fee, and there’s barely any rules – only to write a flashback about your character and your story and tell everyone about it. Oh, and to have fun!

Flashback week is the 2nd week in August, starting Sunday the 14th. If you’re writing in that week, make sure to include a flashback!

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Flashback week roundup

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.

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Flashback week extends to second week!

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.


10 Ideas for a character flashback

child with spraypaint

Was your child a nuisance when they were little?

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.

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7 movies with character flashbacks

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.

Big fish poster

Big Fish

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.

Godfather 2 poster

Godfather 2

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.

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Flashback Week – write a flashback about your character in your own RPG

Old photograph of a child

With a Flashback you can write about your character’s early years, and how they became the character they are today.

What’s a Flashback?

A flashback is when you write about something that happened in your character’s life before the current story. It could be from the character’s childhood, and it could explain why their personality is the way it is now. It could explain why they are scared of spiders, why they hate the colour blue, why they don’t trust men with beards, or why they are such a bastard to everyone.

The flashback might relate to what your character is currently doing in the story, and might explain how they know a specific skill, or they might now meet a character from their childhood.

You might have written a flashback for your character before, or you might not have. It’s dead easy to do, just think about it, and start writing. But even though it’s so simple, you don’t always think about doing it. So why don’t we all do it at the same time?!

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