Posted by: victanguera | October 15, 2010

Writing Prompt #259

I just started a new Urban Fantasy book. One thing that struck me is the amount of backstory. It is rather dumped in–nothing subtle about it. But it does give information on who the characters are and how they fit together.

Backstory is important. How to introduce it is tricky. If you read anything on the internet, you’d think backstory is evil. But without it we don’t understand those connections, or why we should care about the characters.

So for today’s prompt, create some backstory for two characters. Write a scene where necessary information is given, but without dumping it on the character and overwhelming the reader. Go on, you can do it.

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Responses

  1. I’ve been writing short stories involving my characters’ backstories. It’s hard to find a balance between giving enough backstory to enhance the reader’s understanding and giving too much as to overwhelm the reader. This prompt is a great exercise for that.

    Do you mind if I use one of your prompts in my writing group? We’re required to bring one in, and yours are just so fantastic.

    • ::blush:: These are just things I struggle with in my own writing, so I’m glad you like them. Yes, please take any prompt you like and share it with your writing group.

  2. Which book, out of curiosity?

    For my part, I plan to solve that problem in nano by having the one MC get explained the way of the world rather tersely while being dragged through a hospital by a succubus as the staff try and capture/sedate him. Nothing like an action-y scene to make the dump more palatable.

    • I’ll let you know on Tuesday when we meet. It’s just one of those scenes where the backstory breaks up the present action. Very annoying; I can see why agents don’t like it.


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