Welcome to another, You Asked, the Experts Answer, segment. This week ‘s question is: Can You Explain Backstory?
Well, I can’t, as I’ve been as confused about this topic as you have. I’m in the process of writing my first novel and how or when to use backstory has been as clear as mud to me, until now. So, let me introduce the expert.
At Writer Unboxed, Lisa discusses the topic of backstory, in her article, “What We’ve Been Taught About Backstory . . . and Why It’s Wrong.”
I won’t repeat everything she said, you’ll want to visit Writer Unboxed yourself and trust me, you’ll want to read this article. I will, however, share a few highlights. I’ll let Lisa give you the details.
Top 5 Highlights
- “Backstory is the fundamental “why” people do the things they do.
- Our own life experiences are backstory.
- The backstory and the present should be layered as if you’re making a great dish of lasagna.
- Think of Newton’s Law: “For every action there is an equal and/or opposite reaction.” We make choices based on our experiences and so do our characters.
- “Backstory is the first half of your story” and guides your character as clearly as a roadmap.
Lisa does a great job explaining what backstory is, how to use it and when to use it. Her examples make the issue crystal clear. So, check out her article, and let me know what you think. Did it help?