By: Robert Wood
Despite being a necessary and enjoyable part of most narratives, backstory is a bit of a storytelling anomaly. The more complex or involving a story the author is telling, the more time they’re forced to spend outside it. Readers want to know where fascinating characters came from, and that means exploring events you may never have imagined.
In this article, I’ll be exploring how much backstory is appropriate for your book, before offering up one simple tip to writing a believable backstory that’s so good it’ll add to the realism of your entire novel.
How much backstory do you need?
The amount of backstory you need correlates with the complexity of your story. Observe the following story:
Once upon a time there was a princess. She was captured by a dragon. Her father the king offered a lot of treasure to anyone who would rescue her. A prince tried to rescue her but couldn’t. He asked a wizard for help. The wizard used a spell that made him invisible, then he was able to slay the dragon and save the princess. The prince and princess got married afterwards. The End.
With a story like this the reader requires zero backstory. Where did the dragon come from? Why would he kidnap a princess? Who cares? The above story lacks the two factors that make backstory a must: complexity and immersion.
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Read the full article HERE!
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