Friday, October 5, 2012

How Do You Like Your Backstory?

Reading King of Thorns got me thinking about backstory. Like most aspects of writing, there are no hard and fast rules to backstory. How you handle it has more to do with your personal preferences.

For those who don't know, backstory is any information about a character's past. It's the things that happened before the events in your story took place.

Like I said in the previous post, I don't like it when authors spend a whole chapter on backstory. Sometimes it's necessary but, I still find it annoying. I don't want to be spoon fed all the information at once, I'd rather get it in bits and pieces so I have the whole picture by the end.

With my novel, I wanted to include some journal entries from the past but I was weary given how I feel about backstory. I tried to keep the entries as brief as possible without making them seem rushed. It took me awhile to get it right.

Also, in college, I learned we were to keep backstory out of the first couple of chapters. If the reader doesn't care about the character yet, why would they want a chunk of information about their past? This, I agree with but again, personal preference. If you have to dump backstory, stick it as close to the end as possible.

That being said, some authors could go against my personal preferences to write a completely brilliant story.

How do you like your backstory?

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