Notes on Back Story

Notes on Back Story

A Lesson by Writers Essentials

If anyone has any questions or needs me to explain things in deeper detail, please just express your questions or concerns in the comment section below. Thanks and enjoy these notes on backstory.


Notes on Backstory

Profile bullet 6 by Ponnui Show enough backstory to allow the reader to learn and make assumptions about what remains behind the curtain of time, yet continues to influence the characters world view, attitudes, decisions, and actions. 

Profile bullet 6 by Ponnui Your characters' actions need to have psychological validity and a visible connection to some behavioral explanation with roots in the past. Backstory is how you make that happen. 

Profile bullet 6 by Ponnui Putting too much backstory early in the book to divulge information about your characters can bore your readers and destroy any suspense you may have established. 

Profile bullet 6 by Ponnui Withhold information from readers. 

Profile bullet 6 by Ponnui Withhold information from the main characters 

Profile bullet 6 by Ponnui Have the characters withhold information from the readers and one another. 

5 Steps to avoid boredom in a backstory

1. Action! Action! Action!

Sometimes a story - while pausing from suspense - may come off as boring and pointless to readers who are impatient. Try not to base the entire idea on backstory so readers don't lose interest. Even if the moment is random but supports the story a little bit of action can keep readers hooked in long enough.


2. Make Danger Believable

Don’t pause the suspense for the characters to feed into backstory. This will make the seemingly dangerous atmosphere unreal to readers and most audiences prefer to believe what they’re reading. Blend backstory in and keep the characters running.


3. Let Emotions Run Wild

There doesn’t need to be danger in order for the characters to be emotional. Emotion is key to situations that lack that extra “oof!” from suspense and physical drama. This also keeps readers interested and in tune with the characters.


4. Broken Record Effect

Even though repetition in a story can be annoying to most, it can also help a backstory along the line. Announcing a piece of information for the first time might not mean much to readers but repeating it a maximum of 3 times in different parts of the story can let them know that it’s a serious influence to the plot/backstory.


5. Don’t be a Mind Reader

Thoughts of a character to another can ruin atmosphere of a dramatic scene. For example: Tom could be wondering if Phil is aggravated at him from his behavior but then Phil could think about the argument him and his son had that morning. Tom doesn’t know why Phil is truly mad, but the readers do. See how it’s ruined?

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Writers Essentials
Writers Essentials

Richmond, VA

Writers-Essentials is a group for writers, built by a writer. I wish to share my passion for the written arts with fellow creators and teach those who wish to learn the craft.