Saturday, May 30, 2009

The dreaded "B" word: Backstory

Ok, after reading some very informative discussions the other day at Romance University about backstory, I realized I had a very important scene in my story that was going to be backstory. So, following some of the advice I read to eliminate backstory, I decided to make this scene the actual opening scene (where it's supposed to be, duh me. I thought).

As a result, I have a great opening scene that I wrote straight through start to finish without any notes or my beloved index cards I have been ranting about. In doing so, I also eliminated some dreaded backstory. I love it when a burst of raw writing shows up ad spits out about 400 words worth of story line.

All was good (so I thought) until I read: The Black Sheep of Fiction Writing at Pub Rants by guest blogger Carolyn Jewel . The cloud of confusion surrounding backstory was back. Have I improved my story by eliminating some backstory and creating a strong opening or have I just turned the backstory into a prologue? Hmmm...guess I'll have to figure it out later as the story develops.

I guess the lesson I'm taking away from this is, use backstory very carefully if you have to use it. Don't use it as a crutch or a substitute for creativity. If it is key to the story and moves it forward, use it. If it stops momentum and doesn't add value, don't use it.

Still wishing I could type,

No comments: