Writing Techniques in Back Roads

Tawni O'Dell
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O'Dell effectively uses the first-person point of view and retroactive development to draw the reader into the novel. One can readily identify with Harley's humanity— his frailties, temptations, failures, and successes (the "I" becomes our eye)—and can easily enjoy his sense of humor. By thrusting the reader immediately into the story at an emotional and violent point, O'Dell creates interest and suspense, then fills in what screenwriters call "the backstory" by means of an extended flashback. The novel begins and ends in the present tense; in between, Harley narrates his story appropriately in the past tense.

Playing against what appears to be an almost stereotypical, melodramatic, soapopera plot, O'Dell uses impressionism, realism, and shocking plot twists to create something original. In an early conversation with Callie, Harley accidentally provides a good definition of impressionistic art when he says that it represents not what is there...

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This section contains 847 words
(approx. 3 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Back Roads Short Guide
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Gale
Back Roads from Gale. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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