In several blog posts you’ve heard me mention Meredith, the heroine in THE LAST MACKLENNA. Meredith keeps three calendars and a to-do list. She’s obsessive. Her calendar issues stem from a missed appointment with her father when she was in high school. To punish her for her tardiness, her dad left on a business trip early, and she lost out on her senior vacation.
As writers, we can give our characters quirky habits then write backstory to explain it away. The backstory may or may not ever be revealed in the book, but as the creator, we know the whys and can play off of them. Identifying the line between necessary backstory and info dumping is sometimes difficult.
In the above example, when Meredith is asked about her calendars, the reader doesn’t need to know anything more than the missed appointment/missed vacation story. Throughout the rest of the book, as the author, I’ll have the opportunity to weave in additional facts that her mother died soon after Meredith’s birth, that Meredith never felt loved, and that she spent her life trying to please her dad.
If Meredith had gone into the whole explanation of why her dad treated her badly, the story would have come to standstill. That’s when readers start skipping pages, or worse, put the book down.
So, today, run intervals instead of your regular run and write just enough of the backstory to keep the reader’s attention. You’ll get stronger running intervals and your reader will enjoy your book that much more.
If you missed my writing & marketing tweets and retweets yesterday, here they are again
- The E-Reader Revolution: Over Just as It Has Begun? http://ow.ly/gCctA
- Guy Kawasaki Goes APE Over Self-Publishing - Part 1 http://ow.ly/gCcDN via @Bookgal
- 8 Strange Rituals of Productive Writers http://ow.ly/gD7bd Do you have a ritual?
- 7 Ways to Improve Your Writing … Right Now http://ow.ly/gD7ui Good post!
- 13 Reasons to Keep Writing in 2013 http://ow.ly/gD7Fg @JodyHedlund
- Relationships Building with Potential Readers by via http://ow.ly/gD80C @Karen_Baney
- 10 Tips for Hosting a Twitter Party http://ow.ly/gD8cW
- Notes from Tabor Lane: Writing & Marketing Tweets from January 7 http://ow.ly/gD9So
- 5 Verbose Sentences Made Shorter http://ow.ly/gDaaB via Daily Writing Tips
- The Facts vs. The Story You Tell Yourself http://ow.ly/gDquG via @RachelleGardner
- 3 Vs of Fiction: Voice http://ow.ly/gDwIw
- Commodity Publishing, Self-Publishing, and The Future of Fiction http://ow.ly/gDx9T via @JaneFriedman Excellent post!
- Free Books: Give it away. Just give it away http://ow.ly/gDMY0 by @jimhbs Everything you want to know about a free book promotion
- 10 Traits of Highly Productive People http://ow.ly/gDRjY
- Five Best Practices For Hashtags http://ow.ly/gEejB Hashtags are the easiest way to find out what Twitter users are talking about
I’m always looking for great content to share. If you have a writing and/or marketing blog, or have a favorite that you visit often, please leave a link in the comment section. Thanks for stopping by.
Happy writing & running, Kathy