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The dreaded back story

14. October 2008

Most of us use way too much of it. We fall in love with the setup and then we dig deep into the “Where did tehy come from?”

Backstory is necessary, and very pleasurable to experience for the writer. It gets us in touch with our characters, our setting, our whole story, to an extend.

But it’s back story, not story. It has no place in the final book, except as a light sprinkling to hint at depths and a world outside this one story we chose to tell.

So what do you do with all that background info?
Well, you could make a game out of it. You could create characters and see what they were like before they took centre stage.
And then, if you’re me, you could blog about them here.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. 14. October 2008 8:45 pm

    Hey Kiki,
    Great post, interesting meeting your characters family. I write short stories about my characters to get a hang on their back story. It can be an interesting exercise and amazing what information comes out.

    Sandie

  2. dianecurran permalink
    14. October 2008 9:40 pm

    MTC is the back story to my next Nano. I think I like writing sequels. Mind you I’m still discovering Dylan’s back story. And visual inspiration for him.

    I am totally resisting opening up the SIMS games. there’s no way I can fit it in with the editing this month and the writing next month. I’m going to be strong.

  3. 15. October 2008 6:44 am

    lol, Diane, that’s taking writing back story quite far, turning it into its own book!

    I’m going to try my hands at a sequel for the first time next year with the sequel to Parrot. no idea how that’s going to turn out. ^_^

    And Sandie, I’m jealous. I can’t write short stories but wish I could. I just don’t know how to generate ideas that would fit into the word count. >_<

    Then again, I rarely read short stories either.

  4. dianecurran permalink
    15. October 2008 6:43 pm

    That’s what I said about short stories too, Kiki.

    I hadn’t written a short story (other than tiny writers group excercises) for about 9 years and my friend was encouraging me to enter a local short story comp.

    I thought this is crazy. My ideas are too big, I can’t possibly fit a beginning, middle and end into 2000 words. And when I thought about beginning, middle and end, that’s when I thought about Cinderella and what happened after the happily ever after. Took me a couple of days to write. It just poured out. And it came 2nd in the comp. I added another 1200 words to put it in the women’s weekly comp but I think it was a bit out there for them. But of course, Wet Ink loved it.

    Never say never. You just need the right motivation.

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