Skip to content

Posts tagged ‘backstory’

How to delete B.S. (backstory) from your novel

Artists can be creative, quirky, eccentric, motivated, focused, visionary, delusional, imaginative, paranoid….Ah, the highs and lows of living a creative life. The other day, I caught myself practicing a little delusion.

I’ve been taking an online class this month “Creating Compelling Characters,” taught by author and writing mentor Rhay Christou through the Margie Lawson Writer’s Academy. One section is on managing backstory in your novel. Backstory (aka B.S.) is mostly the stuff that never makes it into your novel but that you have to know in order to understand and flesh out your characters.

If you include any backstory at all, one of the best ways to do so is to drip it in only when needed in small bits—a line or two at most. I know this. I thought I was practicing this. But one of our assignments was to read through our chapters and tag any sections of backstory so we could then analyze how we inserted them into the story.

I discovered I had a three-paragraph section of backstory in chapter one! And, after I tagged this B.S., I began making excuses for having it there—it’s necessary information that the reader needs to know, it’s shorter than it looks, etc.—yes, I was deluding myself.

Fortunately, Rhay called me on my B.S. So now, once I finish my first draft, I’ll go back to this area and employ the “shard and slip” exercise described in Margie Lawson’s post, Write Fab Back Story: Not BS!

Read Margie’s post to learn about some of the best ways to include backstory and eliminate any B.S. that will bog your story down. Then, stay tuned for my next post on backstory.



Out of sorts? Give yourself an injection of writing medicine

“You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.” Ray Bradbury

Do you ever feel distress, unease, or a tinge of depression? It could very well be that you haven’t had your proper dose of writing medicine.

My writing friends and I all agree that we feel out of sorts if we don’t write regularly enough. It’s a good addiction.

If you have the deep desire to write, you must feed it. For many of us, writing is our way of dealing with the reality of life. I believe that to be happy, people must find their creative passion, whether it’s writing, photography, drawing, or volunteering for a cause they love — whatever it is that makes them feel alive in the midst of this sad, happy, crazy world. Read more

Three common pitfalls that prevent a compelling beginning

One of the pleasures of reading a new book is sinking into the world of the story. But almost nothing annoys me more than being ripped out of my dream state by having to back up and re-read the beginning of a story to figure out what is going on.

I experienced this recently and in my quest to be a better writer, I decided to analyze a few stories to figure out what was pulling me out of the story world. Here’s what I discovered:

The author introduces too many characters at once. Readers have a hard time keeping the characters straight and knowing their roles in the story because they haven’t had a chance to get to know them yet. Read more