Definition of Backward Flow: Characteristics, and Types of Groove in Literary Work

Definition of Backward Plot – In literary works, plot alias plot becomes the fulcrum of the course of the story that the author wants to convey. That is why, plot seems to control whether or not a literary work is good, apart from fulfilling its didactic function to the reader. The existence of this plot alias plot is not only found in literary works in the form of novels or short stories, but also in dramas that are performed with kramagung and their dialogues. Well, generally the flow is divided into three, namely the forward groove, backward groove, and mixed flow.

Backward plot or what is often referred to as flashback plot tends to be difficult to write, especially for novice writers. For them, the forward flow seems easier to apply in literary works compared to the other two plots. Even so, there are also many literary works that apply this backward flow and the storytelling looks better. Really, what is the flow backwards? Is it true that there are only three types of grooves? So, so that Matobers understands these things, let’s look at the following review!

Definition of Backflow

Matobers must have known what retrograde plot is in a literary work? In general, backwards plots are story plots written by the author using the ending as the opening, then told sequentially until the part that is in the present. The backward plot is also called the flashback plot which invites the reader to know the end of the story first. In short, the backward plot tells the past first, then the present.

According to Burhan Nurgiyantoro (in the book Theory of Fiction Studies : 2013), states that this backward plot is also called a back-and-forth plot, in which the sequence of events in a literary work has a regressive plot (is backwards sequentially). This backward flow is included in the classification of flow based on time sequence.

The backward plot has a story that does not start from the initial stage (which is really the beginning of the story if logically), but begins with the middle or even the ending, then the initial stage. A literary work that uses this backward flow will later present scenes of conflict, which could be in the form of main conflict scenes. Even so, that doesn’t mean the reader will get a “spoiler” of the core of the story.

That’s why literary works that use backwards flow are fun, because even though readers already know the main conflict, they don’t yet understand the situation and problems that lead to this conflict. Well, the whole thing will of course be told chronologically but is regressive. Just a little trivia , a story plot that immediately presents the reader with scenes of the central conflict, as if immediately plunging the reader into the middle of the vortex of problems, is called a plot in medias res .

There are quite a number of literary works that use this backward flow, let’s say there is,

  • Saman (1998)
  • Shackles (1940)
  • Dome (1980)
  • Arid Land
  • Permana Family (1978)
  • Passion To Live and To Die (1968)
  • Atheist (1949)
  • Under the Protection of the Kaaba (1938)

The stages of this backward plot can be: climax – anticlimax – end – story conflict – beginning of story. So, if it is made into a schematic, it will be: D1 – A – B – C – D2 – E . One of the literary works that uses this backward flow is the Permana Family which of course uses this scheme. If Matobers had ever read the novel, he would have understood it. The following is an explanation of the backward plot scheme in the Permana Family novel.

D1 is the beginning of the story which contains the scene of Farida’s death. While A, B, C are flashback events that tell the story of Permana’s household turmoil, which led to Farida being married to Sumarto. Then, in D2 which was deliberately made in such a way as to reaffirm the chronology of D1. Finally, in E, there will be a direct continuation of the events that took place in D1, telling about Permana’s emotional turmoil over the death of her only child, Farida, up to the funeral scene and after.

In this retrograde plot or flashback flow, the emphasis is on turning events back to the previous stage in several ways, namely:

  • First, the author can “order” the character to reflect back on the past and tell it to other characters either orally or through other characters.
  • Second, the character will tell the past of a character (through dialogue).
  • Third, the author himself will tell it (in narrative form).

Well, in this backward plot it will usually be very interesting because from the start, the reader will be brought into the tension of the conflict that is occurring. As if it had been “entangled”, even though it had not yet passed the introduction stage, so it wasn’t too long-winded.

Backtrack Features

1. Starting with a Conflict or Completion of the Story

In a literary work that uses backward plot, later in the beginning there will be a conflict or resolution of the whole story. Over time, then entered the initial stages of conflict.

2. Usually Using a Time Setting in the Past

A literary work that uses backwards flow will usually begin with a description of a time in the past. Not infrequently, there is also a written description of the year in detail so that the reader is not confused.

3. Paying Great Attention to Time Transitions

The use of backward flow in a literary work is indeed very concerned about the transition of time between the stages of the conflict towards solving the problem and towards the background of the problem. This time transition must be chronological, not “jumping” haphazardly so that it is easy for the reader to understand.

4. Having a Strong Conflict

A literary work that relies on backward plot must of course have a strong conflict. This is done so that the reader will also be more interested and curious about the next stage of the story. If the conflict is normal or not strong, then the reader will tend to get bored and reluctant to continue the story.

5. It is recommended for writers who understand the writing format of the flow

Actually, in this case it does not mean that novice writers do not understand the writing format of backward flow. However, in general, this backward plot is used by senior writers who already understand how to write correct grooves, especially backward grooves which require chronological time transitions.

Pros and Cons of Backtracking

Advantages of Backtracking Disadvantages of Backtracking
Makes the reader feel curious about the continuation of the story. If writing the plot format is not clear, it will make the reader confused.
Has a storyline in the past that makes the reader feel compelled to finish the whole story. If the conflict is not strong, then the reader will feel bored.

Know the Types of Groove

Besides the forward plot, backward plot, and mixed plot, what other plots does Matobers know in a literary work? Does Matobers know what solid grooves are? So, in order to understand the types of grooves, let’s look at the following descriptions!

By Time Order

1. Forward Flow

Forward grooves are also known as straight grooves and progressive grooves. This forward plot is said to be progressive (progressing) if the events narrated in a literary work are indeed chronological or coherent. The forward flow usually starts from the initial stage (in the form of character introduction and conflict emergence), to the middle stage (in the form of conflict and climax), then ends with the final stage (in the form of problem solving and ending). So, if it is written into a schematic, it will take the form: A – B – C – D – E

A is the initial stage of the story. Meanwhile, BCD is the next stage, aka the initial stage, which usually contains the core of the story. Then on E is the story completion stage. In this forward flow, of course, the scheme must be told sequentially, alias chronologically, so that it will be easy for the reader to follow.

Examples of literary works that use forward plot, aka progressive plot, are:

  • Siti Nurbaya (1922)
  • Wrong Upbringing (1928)
  • Wrong Choice (1928)
  • Frog Wants To Be An Ox (1935)
  • On A Ship (2009)
  • My Name Is Hiroko (1980)
  • Manyar Birds (1981)
  • Love Verses (2004)
  • Ronggeng Dukuh Paruk (1982)
  • Lintang Steamed Early Days (1985)

2. Mixed Flow

Currently, there are many literary works that do not only use absolute backward or forward plots, but rely on a mixture of the two. In literary works that use this plot, in general it will look like a forward plot, but in it there will be a flashback scene.

According to Nurgiyantoro (2013), it is actually impossible for a story to have an absolute flashback, because it will confuse the reader because it constantly “goes backwards”. For example, in the novel Atheis , which looks like a backwards plot, it actually has a scheme in the form of:

E – D1 – A – B – C – D2

If Matobers has ever read this Atheis novel , he surely understands that the ABC scene is about the character Hasan and the core of the story in a coherent manner. The ABC scene is located between D1 and D2 which is also chronologically straight. This novel goes backwards after getting a flashback from scene E at the beginning of the book.

Based on Total Criteria

In this number criterion, the meaning is the number of plots contained in a literary work. Yep, it’s not possible for a literary work to have only one plot, especially in novels.

1. Single Groove

Single plot usually only develops a story by featuring only one main character. The story only follows the life journey of the main character, complete with conflicts and resolutions. As a rule, this plot is found in biographies or biographical novels. Even though the focus in this plot is only on the main character, of course there are still other characters who have even caused conflict, but the main character is still more dominant.

This single plot is often used when the author wants to focus on a certain character as the dominant or hero in the whole story.

2. Parallel Flow

Parallel plots are also known as sub-subplot plots. In a literary work, it is only natural that there is more than one storyline; or there could also be more than one character who wants to tell the journey of life, the problems and conflicts they face. The structure in this parallel plot is usually in the form of one main plot (main plot) and additional plots (sub-plots). When viewed in terms of the role of the story as a whole, the main plot plays a more important role than the additional plot.

As the name implies, namely sub-plot plots, this plot can be considered as a “second” plot which is added so that the story is clearer and the reader’s view of the contents of the story is also wider. A literary work that uses this parallel plot and even when a synopsis is about to be made, does not affect the storyline of the main plot. Several literary works that use this parallel plot are works by Mochtar Lubis, such as Tanah Gersang and Harimau! Tiger! A bit of trivia, Mochtar Lubis’s literary works often use sub-subplots in the form of flashback plots.



Based on Density

The purpose of this classification relates to whether or not the development of the story in a work of fiction is dense. Does the event after event that is narrated have a fast succession pattern or not; or even loose.

1. Solid Groove

Solid grooves are grooves that are presented quickly. That is, the events in the story occur quickly and the relationship between events is also closely intertwined. As if, between one event and another cannot be eliminated because they are related to one another. If one event is omitted, the reader will feel confused and will not understand the whole story.

Literary works that use this dense plot usually cannot even “relax” the reader’s tension to follow the beginning to the end. Examples of novels that use solid plots are:

  • Harry Potter
  • When Tomorrow Comes
  • Angel of Justice
  • The Da Vinci Code
  • The Lost Symbol
  • Shackles
  • Crisis of Life
  • Cycle

2. Loose Groove

Loose plot is when the storyline contained in a literary work has a slow turn of events after events and the relationship between events is also not very close. In fact, not infrequently, between important events, additional events are often inserted to slow down the story. Sometimes, that’s what makes a novel turn thick pages

Examples of Indonesian novels that use this loose plot are:

  • Soulmate Meeting
  • Siti Nurbaya
  • On a Ship

Based on Contents

The purpose of this classification is the content of the problem told in the literature as a whole. According to Friedman (Nurgiyantoro, 2013: 222-223) reveals that there are three paths included in this classification namely,

1. Fortune Flow

In this lucky plot, there is usually a story that reveals the fate or fortune of the main character in a work of fiction. Well, in the flow of this luck can be divided into several things, namely:

  • Motion plot (action plot)
  • Sad plot (pathetic plot)
  • Tragic plot (tragic plot)
  • The plot of punishment (punitive plot)
  • Sentimental plot (sentimental plot)
  • The plot of admiration (admiration plot)

2. Character Plot

The plot of the character refers to the characteristics possessed by the character as the focus of his attention. In this type of plot, the situation of the characters is more often highlighted than the events that occurred. For the most part, the events are concerned with revealing the true identity of the character. The flow of this character can be divided into 4 things, namely:

  • Maturity plot
  • Formation plot (reform plot)
  • Test flow (testing plot)
  • Degeneration plot

3. Flow of Thought

The flow of thought relates to expressing the thoughts, desires, feelings, to the obsessions of the character. This flow can be divided into 4 things, namely:

  • Flow of education (education plot)
  • Secret opening plot (revelation plot)
  • Affective plot _
  • Disillusionment plot

So, that’s a review of what retrograde groove is, along with examples of literary works that use this groove and other types of groove other than backward groove. Can Matobers name other literary works that also use this flashback plot?