Wednesday, February 1, 2012
Okay, so maybe I was wrong...
Apparently there IS black and white in fiction writing. Well, not exactly, but I did find it interesting that shortly after I wrote my last post about how there was no black and white in writing, I came across this post by Jeannette Cezanne on the Beyond The Elements of Style blog. If you happen to click over, you'll read all about black and white in her sidebar.
Anyway, Jeannette's post has nothing to do with black and white. It's about backstory. It's short and does not give a lot of information, but it does mimic a comment from one of my readers, Angela Ackerman, on my initial post on backstory. Here's what Angela has to say about backstory:
I think the trick with backstory is to look at it as .
'hooks'. Dole out tiny bits that get the reader asking more questions and make them intrigued enough to keep reading.
Backstory also has to tie into the current action. For example, the backstory event in my books opening is that the mc recently had a drowning accident. How can I get this info out without a ton of pace killing telling? Make her first scene in a bathroom with her little brother, attending a toilet send off for his beloved fish. The dead fish in the water is a natural trigger for her to relive what happened to her, and so when it comes out, it isn't dumpy, but hooks the reader along to find out what exactly happened.
This comment made perfect sense to me. Backstory should be there to draw the reader in, not push them out of the story. When put that way, I do think there is some black and white truth to this. It's not exactly a rule. It's a logical guideline. Every writer wants to draw the reader in. Looking at backstory as "hooks" as Angela said, can help you to include it at the right time in the right amount. Jeannette's post that I mentioned at the beginning here, says almost the exact same thing.
So, do you have any examples of backstory hooks?