02 Jun FE: Let your story flow
Last week it was hard to ignore another school shooting, this time in Uvalde, TX: http://thewishwall.org/desideri/matthew-mcconaughey-calls-for-action-after-school-shooting-in-hometown-of-uvalde-tx
This week, I hope to turn to writing for your own mental health, for bright ideas, and ways to shine through the noise!
I’ve been meeting with a new film crew, and will share some a few suggestions for getting it right with backstory. Here’s a simple list of dos and don’ts to keep your book or film story flowing:
1. Don’t relate more than the briefest backstory in the first chapter because you need to create momentum, and backstory will stop progress dead. Too much too early can halt the main plot. Also, the reader won’t care about all those details until you’ve established empathy for and curiosity about your protagonist.
2. Do avoid dropping a block of backstory as introspection, where the protagonist is deep in thought. Consider dribbling in backstory, drop-by-drop, like a drip coffee maker. I know of one popular author who writes out the entire traumatic experience of each protagonist in real time, including dialogue. After she has this all-important, pivotal, life-shaping, worldview-shifting scene, she breaks it into tiny pieces and inserts it as internal thought at critical times in the first half of the story. It works and keeps the narrative moving. So, consider breaking up the flashback and weaving it into several scenes for greater impact.
3. Don’t forget that introspection is only one way to introduce backstory. Other options are dialogue and action.
We’ll explore a few more of those options soon.
Thank you for reading and we welcome comments below.
Akasha Garnier for #TheWishwall
Author, Brand Expert, Filmmaker
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