Posted by Eileen Astels
There's a lot of talk lately about backstory. Especially regarding the near elimination of it in the initial chapters.
What do you think? Is backstory passive? Does it slow the read for you when you come across a line, or paragraph, or more of it?
I think that's really where the talk is coming from. If we really take a look at what our backstory does to our writing, we'll see that it more often than not does slow the pace and also interrupts the action it's been plunked into the middle of.
For beginner writers, it's even more imperative that we be especially choosy about WHAT and HOW MUCH backstory to include in our manuscripts, and I believe it would be a wise decision to make our backstory work double time for us. Meaning, we need to incorporate it in such a way that it adds intrigue, or an eye-opening experience (ie. huge character trait revealing, etc.) In other words, when you need to include a piece of backstory to make the scene make sense, then include it in as few words as possible, but write it in such a way that it becomes active, too. Keep the story moving forward, despite the fact that you're slipping in past experiences.
A little while back, over on Seekerville, Camy Tang offered a wonderful example of how to incorporate backstory so that it blends in with the scene, and also gives it a double purpose. Check it out. It's a great example to learn from.
Blessings, and write on!