Sharing your character’s backstory
Posted July 29, 2009on:
In my quest to learn and perfect the art of writing, I searched out and discovered what others thought how best to effectively add backstory. The following offered exceptional insight.
In Jessica Morrell’s book, Between the Lines, Chapter 1 begins an examination of the four essentials of writing backstory:
- raising the stakes
- revealing motivations
- expressing innermost fears
- revealing obstacles
In Tamy Tang’s article “Tips for How to Present Backstory: Make a Character’s Past History Compelling” she discusses the why and how to:
- Dole out backstory in bits and pieces
- Make the information vital for a character to have
- Make a character fight to acquire the information
- Keep the reader wanting more
Ginny Wiehardt’s article “How to Avoid Too Much Back Story” she cautions the writer to use only the absolutely necessary backstory information.
In “Tips for Writing Fiction: Backstory” Charlotte Rains Dixon makes several interesting points. Two are: “…use it only when the reader needs to know something” and “…writing backstory requires a delicate balance.”
On Darcy Pattison’s website Fiction Notes, there are several informative articles on backstory. One, the Backstory’s Emotional Weight, answers the question: Where do you put backstory?
I learned several years ago, the cardinal rule of writing: Everything within the story, must move the story forward. That also must apply to backstory.
I’ll keep these articles handy for review when a backstory enters my story, stage left.