NOT YOUR USUAL SUSPECTS

A group blog featuring an international array of killer mystery, suspense, and romantic suspense writers. With premises and story lines different from your run-of-the-mill whodunits, we tend to write outside the box. We blog several times a week on all topics relating to romantic suspense and mystery, our writing, and our readers. We welcome all comments and often have guest bloggers. All our authors can be contacted separately, too, using their own social media links.

We find our genre delightfully, dangerously, and deliciously exciting - join us here, if you do too!


Julie Moffet . Clare London . Cathy Perkins . Jean Harrington . Daryl Anderson . Nico Rosso . Maureen A Miller . Sandy Parks . Lisa Q Mathews . Sharon Calvin . Lynne Connolly . Janis Patterson . Vanessa Keir . Tonya Kappes . Julie Rowe . Joni M Fisher . Leslie Langtry

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Backstory

I love developing my characters’ backstories. For one, they are the easiest ones to tweak when your real story suddenly changes direction. They also provide a wealth of information about your characters, their story arc, and why they react to the situations you drop them into (to say nothing about giving direction to your plot development).



Recurring Nightmares?
And while it might be tempting to have your character react in predictable ways, having him or her do something unexpected (but logical--for him or her) provides more depth and can entice a reader to find out why that character responded that way. Because our experiences are as unique and individual as our personalities, your character’s reaction to any given situation will be a combination of everything that has happened to him or her to date. This is why being able to modify a backstory to get the reaction you need in chapter fourteen is so powerful—and fun!
A past life?


It also helps that very little of these backstories actually ever appear in your book—like a very potent spice, a little goes a long way. Plus I want my readers to fill in some of those gaps with their own reactions and ideas. Like your character’s backstoy, every reader brings their own experiences (backstory) to your book, so they will react to situations in ways you would not. That can make your book more powerful for them because they have invested themselves in your book in a very real sense.

Be creative and flexible with your backstories, and let them evolve organically and change to make your characters grow and change in unexpected ways. So, do you have any favorite backstories you’ve created or read lately?
Was your character kidnapped are abandoned as child?
 

4 comments:

Wynter said...

I love playing with back story. In my RS book, Spirited Seduction, a psychic became a killer's target while she was helping with a murder investigation. After that, she tried to block her psychic powers. Of course, that didn't work for long, especially after an old friend of hers is murdered!

Anne Marie Becker said...

The heroine of my current WIP is the only child of con artist parents. That's been a really interesting backstory to write!

jean harrington said...

Backstory is one of the trickiest development tools in a writers kit. Too much and you spoil the construction, too little and the reader doesn't know enough about the characters/plot/motivation, etc. Backstory's kind of like eye makeup. A little goes a long way, and for it to be effective, you really, really, have to put it in the right place.

Rita said...

Back story is important. I write tons of backstory that never appears in a book. It helps me know who the characters are. Had so much for one book I put it out as a free prequel.
Bought a book Saturday. Out of the first 15 chapters 13 were back story. That was one of many reasons I returned it on Monday.

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