So, the bottom line on backstory: your characters need it, and your story might, too. But we have to be very careful to balance backstory with the present story, which should be more compelling and only enhanced by the backstory, never impeded. (Oh, is that all? 😉 )
I’m not the only one who feels this way. Just last week, literary agent Kristen Nelson singled out backstory and minutiae as the two biggest reasons why novels start in the wrong place (and we looked at how to start your story in the right place, too).
Here are some of the great articles and books I’ve studied and referenced as I worked on this series:
- Don’t Murder Your Mystery by Chris Roerden
- Revision And Self-Editing by James Scott Bell
- Redlines Ten: Backstory by Theresa Stevens at edittorrent
- Revelations and Flashbacks by Alicia Rasley at edittorrent
- Got Backstory? What Do You Do With It? by Theresa Stevens at Romance University
- Ask an Editor: Backstory and Pacing by Theresa Stevens at Romance University
- Backstory Problems by Alicia Rasley
- Character Motivation by Alicia Rasley
- Sympathy without Saintliness by Alicia Rasley
(Can you tell I’m a fan?)
What articles have you come across on backstory that have helped you understand more about this tool?
Photo by Sue Clark