Six impossible things

Posts Tagged backstory

Getting the Backstory In

A character’s backstory – all the stuff that happened to them prior to the start of the novel – starts with the highs, lows, traumas, and major life events of the character’s past. This is the stuff that has shaped the character’s personality – what they want, […]

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Backstory, part 2

While the amount of backstory the writer needs to make up, and whether they make it up in advance or as they write, varies a lot depending on the writer’s process, the amount that goes into the story has almost nothing to do with the writer’s process, […]

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Backstory, part one

Backstory is one of the most potentially useful tools in the writer’s toolbox; it’s also one of the most often misused. First, a definition: Backstory, as I use the term, is anything and everything relevant that has happened prior to the start of the story. For most […]

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Fixing Chapter One: Background, setting, backstory

The third problem that article-writer had with Chapter Ones was “too much background and too much telling.” His answer was to cut out all the description. Unfortunately, this “simple and obvious” solution isn’t a universal one – in the first place, it doesn’t allow for differences in […]

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Changing infrastructure

Infrastructure is all that everyday stuff we take for granted, from roads and bridges to garbage collection and cell phones. It’s one of the things that allows societies to function smoothly, if they want to. It’s vitally important…and it’s also vastly boring. Consequently, writers tend not to […]

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This little piggy stayed home

I’ve always been fascinated with process and with what it takes to get that initial story-seed-idea developed enough to actually start writing it. One of the things I’ve noticed for years is the differences in what writers say they need in order to actually sit down and […]

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Series backstory, part 2

Last time, I talked about ways to get series backstory (the stuff that has happened in the previous books of a series) into the sort of series that’s really a three- or five- or seven-volume novel split into parts. Today I’m talking about the backstory for the […]

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Series backstory, part 1

Every so often I get an email request from one of the readers of this blog, asking me to address a particular writing question. This week’s inquiry boils down to “When you’re writing a series, and you’re on book three (or five or nineteen), how much backstory […]

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