Monday, 4 April 2011

Dealing with backstory

It can be so easy to fall into the trap of writing too much backstory. Aren't we all a product of what has gone on before in our lives? Therefore, it would follow that our characters are the same.

Liz Roberts who whittled down the Debut Dagger entries – ‘Many entries started off very well – and then ran the reader into the literary equivalent of a brick wall around page 3 or 4, because they couldn’t resist putting in a lot of backstory.’

The best piece of advice I have read came from literary agent Carole Blake in From pitch to publication -
'In order to illustrate a character trait, or a backstory element, demonstrate it with a scene, a snippet of dialogue, but don’t have the narrative address the reader like a newsreader reading facts.'


  1. I hate backstory. If it's important, then start the story there! Great post

  2. Thanks Rebecca. I struggled with backstory until I saw how one author dealt with it. Afraid I can't remember who, but he said something like 'it reminded him of Nam' and without pages of backstory you had the backstory.


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