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Friday, February 3, 2012

Yikes!


This shoe brings up all kinds of emotion! Mostly fear. Not only of the thing inside it, but the height of that heel! Yeesh! I'd break my neck if I tried to wear that thing. I'm sure there would be a time and place where one might wear such a thing. Take a Halloween costume party for example.

Just like there is an appropriate time and place for shoes to be worn, there is also an appropriate time and place where backstory should be inserted. Instead of getting into all the places it doesn't belong right now (we'll get to that later), I'd like to discuss where it does belong.

Darcy Pattison explains it well here. She says that backstory is there to add emotional weight to the story. It can strengthen characters' motivations and make events mean more. She states that backstory should be put exactly where it impacts the emotional weight of the story.

Like the idea of using backstory to "hook" the reader, the idea of using it to heighten emotion is not so much a rule as a logical guideline. It makes sense to me. Does it make sense to you?

I'll be back next week for more on the topic of backstory. Until then, have a great weekend!

23 comments:

Patti said...

I totally agree that back story helps with motivation for a character. In fact, it can be a very useful tool for that. Have a good weekend.

Diane said...

I'm glad to see the spider has air holes and snacks! :O)

Shannon O'Donnell said...

Based on feedback from an editor,I added some backstory early on, hoping to exactly that--heighten emotions. Great post.

Have a good weekend. :)

Matthew MacNish said...

I can't see any air holes! How will that icky thing stay alive?

jbchicoine said...

yep, I absolutely agree: "that backstory is there to add emotional weight to the story. It can strengthen characters' motivations and make events mean more. She states that backstory should be put exactly where it impacts the emotional weight of the story."

The trick is, getting all that right! Such fun :)

Jennifer Shirk said...

That shoe is scary!!

My crit partner is such a gem. I gave her the first 6 chapters and she immediately marked spots were I could into more depth and add some backstory or reasons why my hero is conflicted. So instead of deleting, I'm adding. Go figure. LOL

Nick Thomas said...

Definitely not PETA recommended footwear

Karen Amanda Hooper said...

I just did the icky dance where I feel like spiders are crawling all over me and I cant get them off.

Yuck.

tfwalsh said...

What a freaky shoe... not sure I could wear it...:)

Totally agree.. without backstory we wouldn't know why the character behaves the way they do.

Robyn Campbell said...

It's hard to figure isn't it? Great post though. I think I'll take a look at one of my stories where this might be the thing that is needed. Thanks Sus. Have a super weekend. (((hugs)))

Paul Greci said...

With regards to back story and where to put it, I ask myself if it is moving the story forward as well as developing character.
Thanks, Susan!! :-)

Medeia Sharif said...

That link had great info. I use back story sparingly. My crit group and beta readers let me know if I need to move back story pieces to a later part of the story or advise on breaking it apart.

The contents of that shoe are scary.

Stina Lindenblatt said...

All I can say is, "EEEEEEKKKKKK!!!!!!!" to both the heel and the spider. I'll definitely pass.

Great points on backstory. :D

Kathi Oram Peterson said...

Those are some wild shoes. I don't know if I could walk with a spider the size of a tennis ball under my shoe. Creepy. And the heels. I'm with you.

Enjoyed your backstory points.

Danyelle L. said...

I'd never put it to words before, but I like how you worded it: adding emotional weight to the story. Because that's exactly what good backstory does--it strengthens the story and draws the reader in. :)

Nancy said...

I can't think of a book where backstory hooked me. Perhaps it has. But I do know that it gives an emotional punch that the story would lack without it.

Those shoes are creepy. What if somehow the heel broke and the spider came out. I know it's dead, but still - it's yucky.

Angela Ackerman said...

Backstory is one of the toughest things to get right I think. Especially in that opening chapter when there is so much pressure to show everything at once--who the character is, what the problem is, the setting an emotional connection...*head explodes*

I'll check out that link--thanks Susan! :)

Carolyn V said...

Those shoes are just scary!

And I agree with the back story bringing emotion. It totally does, especially if done right. ;)

Mykuljay said...

If I saw a woman wearing those shoes I would run far, far away!

Mark Noce said...

Back story can be difficult to work in a times, but...I still wouldn't try on that shoe;)

Susan Fields said...

That shoe is tooo creepy!

Name: Holly Bowne said...

Darcy's explanation makes total sense. In the book I'm reading it is definitely giving events much greater significance.

And for the record, I tried on a pair of shoes that weren't quite that high, but close, just to see what they felt like. I do NOT understand how anybody could ever walk normally in them!

Melissa Sugar said...

Great post and the link to Darcy's article was extremely helpful. I just added backstory earlier than I normally would have, but I did so on the advice of a plot consultant.

Freaky shoe. I am a new follower. Happy to be here.