Please excuse any mess around here while blog is undergoing damage repair.

Monday, January 30, 2012

The Consensus is...

First, let me say that I'm thrilled with the response to my last post on back story. Not because you told me what I wanted to hear, but because so many weighed in on the discussion. In case you missed it, I posed the question: What is the deal with back story? It seems the majority of you think back story is fine (even a good thing) in small doses. You can read the post and the comments here.

Now, you may be wondering what today's picture has to do with back story. Well, it really doesn't. I chose this picture today because the thing that thrilled me most about the comments on my last post was that they renewed my excitement about blogging. They reminded me that I am not alone in this journey to publication. Sure...some of you are already published or at the very least a few steps ahead of me on the journey. Others are a few steps behind. And we may or may not be following the same path. But we are all walking in the same direction.

Most of you know that my paying gig is as a contract Accountant. I even posted about how the left and right sides of my brain battle against each other. I enjoy both crunching numbers and writing, but sometimes, numbers feel safer. You know why? Because there is a definite answer in numbers. There is a definite right way to do things. There is no gray area. Okay, sometimes there are loopholes or exceptions, and some might exercise a certain level of creativity (for lack of a better word) to save on taxes, etc. But for the most part, Accounting is a black and white process. Writing on the other hand, is mostly a gray area. There are so many different opinions out there about the "right" way to do things that it's hard to know which direction you should go in. Blogging provides a forum for discussions on these gray area topics. That's one of the reasons I spend so much time doing it.

So, I thank you all for your openness to express your opinions about these topics. It's like our own little pool of research participants.

Anyway, returning to back story... I have done quite a bit of research on the subject over the last several days, and I thought I'd share with you what I've found in my next few posts. But, as with everything else in this business, remember that what I share with you will purely be industry professionals' opinions. Remember...there is no black and white when it comes to writing.

20 comments:

strugglingwriter said...

Renewed excitement for blogging is a good thing. Yay!

My real job is computer programmer which is also the opposite side of the brain as writing. However, I look at both as trying to solve a problem. This is why I write best when I have a solid grasp on how I want a story to end. Then, all I have to do is solve the problem of how we arrive at that ending. Anyhow, it works for me :)

Patti said...

I've always struggled with back story and when to put it in. Lately I've decided that it depends on what kind of book your write. If it's more literary then I think a good deal of the book is back story, but if you're writing a fast action book then I might keep the back story to a minimum. Just my two cents. I look forward to hearing what you learned.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

I'm glad you had lots of input and came out of it feeling good about blogging. That's important! And I have NO IDEA how you can be a numbers AND word person. *shivers* :-)

Glynis said...

I missed your last post but have now corrected that issue. Back story is something I cut out of my first novel. Gradually I found I couldn't live without it and nor could my POV, so I put it back in. I am happy with backstory. Not too much but just enough to give a little extra bite to the plot.

#167 Dad said...

"Write what you like. There is no other rule."
I'm quoting someone, but can't remember who...

Nancy said...

Thanks for doing all of this research. I will be interested in what you found out.

Suzanne Casamento said...

Yay Bloggers! So cool that you got so many contributions.

And I think it's amazing that you're a writer and a numbers girl. Numbers scare the bejeezus out of me!

Wendy Paine Miller said...

Agreed. No black and white in writing.

I need a T-shirt w/ that on it.
~ Wendy

Jennifer Shirk said...

I know. There is no black and white, which makes it hard to read "how-to" writing books sometimes.

Colene Murphy said...

HA! That's funny. My day job is all numbers and interacting with people. Both of which go against what I love to do. ;) Glad you're going to share what you have discovered! Can't wait to read some other opinions on it!

Diane said...

I like numbers too. I almost went to school to become an actuary and am glad I didn't now. Hugs :O)

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I forgot just how gray writing can be. LOL It reminds me of photography. (That will be explained in an upcoming post). :D

Glad to hear that you had such a positive response to your backstory post, Susan.

Lynda R Young said...

I think that's precisely what I love about writing. It's such an individual pastime and it brings out the writer's unique qualities.

tfwalsh said...

So true... another reason why writers can't make everyone happy with their stories... so many different opinions based on individual tastes etc... Can't wait to read your upcoming posts... I work in marketing during the day, and it does allow for some gray spots... but not many.

Dawn Simon said...

Fun to hear about your day job! My background is in teaching, and I'm currently transferring my California credential to Washington. I plan to try subbing next year. :)

Blogging is cool, isn't it? I love how supportive everyone is, and I learn so much from blog friends! And you're one of the first ones I met! <3

Jen Chandler said...

I'm excited to read what you have to say about backstory. I've often wondered what the big deal is about it. While I don't think a whole three chapters should be devoted to it, I do enjoy knowing where people come from and what's going on outside of the main story!

Blogging renews my faith in the writing process. It reminds me that I'm not alone, that I'm not struggling in a void. It's good to know you're traveling with some great people :D

I'm glad you find solace in numbers. I find them frightening and confusing and as soon as I finish this math class, I'm done with them (in the classroom sense) forever! I'm so right brained it's scary! :D

Cheers,
Jen

Name: Holly Bowne said...

Ooooh, looking forward to learning what you've found out! It is great hearing so many people chime in on the topic.

Elana Johnson said...

Ahhh! I'm so with you. I have a math minor and I like it, because of exactly what you said. It's concrete. There's a right way and a wrong way. There are RULES that if followed, determine SUCCESS.

Writing has none of that. And it's hard to navigate what you can do and what you "can't" and yeah. I feel this pain!

Kathy said...

I think it is true that math/accounting and the like involve a right or wrong answer. Sometimes it is nice to do that kind of work.

However, I really suck at math. I'm one of those people who has to do something creative; it's the only thing I"m good at. It's fortunate that there are different kinds of writing. I like poetry writing, songwriting, essays, stories and greeting card verses.

Murugi Njehia said...

My real job is marketing and I am steps ..wait..miles behind you! I sometimes feel my job takes up much of my time, then i have to blog, then still get to write my "someday - soon"book which seems i have been working on for a long, long time! But as Elana said, There are RULES that if followed, determine SUCCESS.
Great post. I am a new follower.

Stopping by from HER WORLD -
http://muruginjehia.blogspot.com/