Friday, April 29, 2011

Why Backstory?

Every novel must include some background explanation on your characters—everybody has a past that shapes who they are. I know many people don’t like background because it tends to stop the forward flow of a story. And no one wants that, right? But background information is essential for the reader to understand the story, or your character’s reason for a certain choice, behaviour, or attitude.

However, the trick is to find clever ways of working background information into your story so your reader hardly notices it’s there.

Backstory adds characterization, story dimension and helps to draw the reader into the story. Therefore, whenever possible, cut background information into bite size pieces so your reader isn’t smothered under a heaping dump of info. Pare down the information so the reader gets only what’s necessary for the story to make sense right now. And find ways of presenting background information through dialogue, because dialogue is far more active than narrative.

Not only does giving the reader small tasters of backstory make the information less intrusive, it also helps to build suspense and can move your story forward, making your reader anxious to know the rest of the backstory.

Drip-feeding your reader background raises questions in the reader’s mind—questions the reader must keep turning the pages to find answers to. So you look for ways to withhold background information in order to create a question which pushes your reader through you story.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Happy Resurrection Weekend!

It was near the dawning of a new morning, the morning of a new day destined to be a great day. While yet dark there come a number of women out of the city gate toward the tomb where Jesus' body had been laid. They carry spices and ointment. With woman's ever tender thoughtfulness they are bent upon some kindly service for that precious body.

They had followed up the burial and noted the arrangements with a view to this morning's early service. Their whole thought is absorbed with a tomb and a body and a bit of loving attention. They wonder as they come along whom they can get to roll the heavy stone over into its groove at the side of the opening. Mary Magdalene is in the lead. With her in the darkness is her friend Mary, the mother of John and James. Others come along a little behind, in small groups.

As they get near to the place the keen eyes of Mary Magdalene notice at once with a quick start that the stone is rolled away. Somebody has been tampering with the tomb in the night.

Leaving her companion, she starts back on a run into the city and finds Peter, and tells him that the Lord has been taken away, and they don't know where He has been laid. Peter, too, is startled. He gets John, and the two start back on a run.

Meanwhile the other women have gone on toward the tomb. As they approach they are startled and awed to find a man there, with the glorious appearance of an angel, sitting upon the stone. To these awe-stricken women this angel being quietly said, "Do not be afraid. I know you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here. He is risen, as He told you. Come and see the place where He lay." And as they gaze with wide open eyes, he adds, "Go quickly and tell His disciples, and be sure you tell Peter, that He is risen from the dead, and lo, He goeth before you into Galilee. You will meet Him there. Lo, I have told you."