Hey, I’m Anne Westrick and I talk about writing, and today I want to discuss backstory, which is everything that happens in a novel before the present action. The problem with backstory is that it slows the pace.
Fiction works when readers make an emotional connection with a protagonist and—you know—a heart-connection. Backstory is all in the head. Present action is all heart.
Now of course, writers need to know the backstory to craft fully-formed characters, but once you know it, leave it. If something happens in the present action to trigger the protagonist to remember the past, then bring in the backstory. But to keep the pace from slowing, give readers the emotional truth of that history. Write scenes from the heart, not the head.
This craft tip is the single most valuable tip I have had to learn about writing fiction. And now I’m going back to the page. Bye…