The Struggle of Backstory

Back Story-2Many things go into the process of writing a novel. There are innumerable books and websites to help you bring the dream of your novel to fruition.

The dreaded backstory or info dump, is one of the elements that give many authors grief, including me.

As I began my journey, everything I read said to avoid info dumps and backstory. I wondered why. Isn’t the history of what drives your character the foundation of your story? It left me confused and, at times, discouraged.

I wrote and re-wrote chapters trying to make sure I wasn’t introducing too much or too early. Maybe that’s the newbie author in me but thanks to Lisa Cron from Writer Unboxed  I finally have a grasp on the concept of when and how to use backstory effectively.

Backstory is important, even in the first chapter. The key is to make it seamless. Lisa gives numerous examples from published novels which clarified this issue for me better than anything I’ve read or studied to date.

So, if you’re struggling with the backstory issue, check out The Shocking Truth About Info Dumps.

I’d love to hear your comments. Talk to me. Tell me your story and look for me on Facebook at SheilaMGood,  PinterestBloglovinTwitter@sheilagood, and Contently.


You Asked: Can You Explain Backstory?

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.

Lisa Cron is the author of Wired for Story: The Writer’s Guide to Using Brain Science to Hook Readers From the Very First Sentence.

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?

I’d love to hear your comments. Tell me your story. And as always, you can find me on Facebook at SheilaMGoodPinterestBloglovinContently,
and Twitter@sheilagood. Say hello and pass it on.