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Digression! Digression! Digression!

Novel: Gone Girl

Author: Gillian Flynn

I struggled with the word digression any time a professor used the term in lecture. Backstory? A thing that distracts the reader from the plot? It moves the plot along too?

Digression, by definition, actually you know what, forget the definition. It’s A LOT OF THINGS. All those things.

I was supposed to write this blog on the digressions in Gone Girl earlier, but I was distracted by the constant fear that I left my wallet at this Thai Food Restaurant I ate at for dinner with a man I went on a second date with, and then I kept thinking about whether I was texting back too fast, and do I need to cool it? Should I put a timer on? I technically work with my phone—shouldn’t he understand? So I took a walk to clear my thoughts.

See what I did there? Digression! It moves this essay’s plot along about backstories, a distraction. DIGRESSION!

Now to Gone Girl! I’m not a fan of reviews. You either like the book or not. That being said, Gone Girl was extraordinary. Gillian Flynn did an impeccable job providing backstories while moving the plot along through Amy Elliot’s diary, and at times, through the progression of dialogue in Nick Dunne’s day-to-day, hour-by-hour life of striving to uncover the mystery of his wife’s disappearance.

Instead of providing backstory in the beginning of your novel, essay, novella—spread it like butter! Move your reader in and out of the present in clear patterns that won’t confuse them. I suppose that’s what I should be doing.

After all, I’m just a confused MFA student.

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