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which comes first

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  • Amy
    I have a character introduction I m working on and I can t decide which comes first. Should I put his description first or the back story of how they met? Amy
    Message 1 of 11 , Feb 1, 2011
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      I have a character introduction I'm working on and I can't decide which comes first. Should I put his description first or the back story of how they met?

      Amy
    • L. Jagi Lamplighter Wright
      In general, backstory should go as late as possible. ... From: Amy To: MagicalWordsBetas@yahoogroups.com Sent: Tuesday, February 01, 2011 09:57 Subject:
      Message 2 of 11 , Feb 1, 2011
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        In general, backstory should go as late as possible.
         
         
        ----- Original Message -----
        From: Amy
        Sent: Tuesday, February 01, 2011 09:57
        Subject: [MagicalWordsBetas] which comes first

         

        I have a character introduction I'm working on and I can't decide which comes first. Should I put his description first or the back story of how they met?

        Amy

      • L. Jagi Lamplighter Wright
        I should add, all general rules should be broken if the story requires. ;-) ... From: Amy To: MagicalWordsBetas@yahoogroups.com Sent: Tuesday, February 01,
        Message 3 of 11 , Feb 1, 2011
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          I should add, all general rules should be broken if the story requires. ;-)
           
           
          ----- Original Message -----
          From: Amy
          Sent: Tuesday, February 01, 2011 09:57
          Subject: [MagicalWordsBetas] which comes first

           

          I have a character introduction I'm working on and I can't decide which comes first. Should I put his description first or the back story of how they met?

          Amy

        • Deb Smythe
          Someone, I forget who, said, Backstory is for the writer. The reader wants the story. As writers, we ve worked hard to create in-depth characters and
          Message 4 of 11 , Feb 1, 2011
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            Someone, I forget who, said, "Backstory is for the writer. The reader wants the story." As writers, we've worked hard to create in-depth characters and intricate worlds, so of course we want to share it all. It's tempting to put everything we know into the story, but how much of that information is necessary? Does the info advance the plot or does it halt the action mid-course? One thing that helps me is to stay in character, aka POV. I might want to interject information in authorial voice, but if Joe ain't thinkin' or feelin' it then and there, it ain't goin' in.  




            From: L. Jagi Lamplighter Wright <lampwright@...>
            To: MagicalWordsBetas@yahoogroups.com
            Sent: Tue, February 1, 2011 10:05:58 AM
            Subject: Re: [MagicalWordsBetas] which comes first

             

            I should add, all general rules should be broken if the story requires. ;-)
             
             
            ----- Original Message -----
            From: Amy
            Sent: Tuesday, February 01, 2011 09:57
            Subject: [MagicalWordsBetas] which comes first

             

            I have a character introduction I'm working on and I can't decide which comes first. Should I put his description first or the back story of how they met?

            Amy


          • L. Jagi Lamplighter Wright
            Have you ever watched a Japanese anime? They often have lots of action at the beginning. Then, by the time you learn the backstory of the character, you really
            Message 5 of 11 , Feb 1, 2011
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              Have you ever watched a Japanese anime? They often have lots of action at the beginning. Then, by the time you learn the backstory of the character, you really care about him or her and want to know about them...the backstory itself becomes something you are dying to learn.
               
              That is called revelation...where you reveal to the reader what they want to know.

              So, the goal is to have as little backstory and as much revelation as possible.
               
              That being said, sometimes a bit of backstory makes the character much more interesting and enjoyable.
               
              ----- Original Message -----
              Sent: Tuesday, February 01, 2011 11:22
              Subject: Re: [MagicalWordsBetas] which comes first

               

              Someone, I forget who, said, "Backstory is for the writer. The reader wants the story." As writers, we've worked hard to create in-depth characters and intricate worlds, so of course we want to share it all. It's tempting to put everything we know into the story, but how much of that information is necessary? Does the info advance the plot or does it halt the action mid-course? One thing that helps me is to stay in character, aka POV. I might want to interject information in authorial voice, but if Joe ain't thinkin' or feelin' it then and there, it ain't goin' in.  




              From: L. Jagi Lamplighter Wright <lampwright@...>
              To: MagicalWordsBetas@yahoogroups.com
              Sent: Tue, February 1, 2011 10:05:58 AM
              Subject: Re: [MagicalWordsBetas] which comes first

               

              I should add, all general rules should be broken if the story requires. ;-)
               
               
              ----- Original Message -----
              From: Amy
              Sent: Tuesday, February 01, 2011 09:57
              Subject: [MagicalWordsBetas] which comes first

               

              I have a character introduction I'm working on and I can't decide which comes first. Should I put his description first or the back story of how they met?

              Amy


            • Sarah Adams
              Hi Amy, I¹m with the other critters on this one. Tim Powers spoke at Los Con last year and he said in at least 3 panels (I¹m paraphrasing from memory) - in
              Message 6 of 11 , Feb 2, 2011
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                Re: which comes first Hi Amy,

                I’m with the other critters on this one.  Tim Powers spoke at Los Con last year and he said in at least 3 panels (I’m paraphrasing from memory) - in the first two chapters, every time you have the urge to explain something to the reader, don’t. Or if you can’t resist, write it all out and then cut it from the chapters and let someone read it. Don’t put anything back unless they are confused.

                I always want to explain things to my reader, especially backstory, but he’s right.  The information should come out through action and implication. I went through my own WIP and did that and it helped a lot.


                :) Sarah
              • L. Jagi Lamplighter Wright
                Donald Maass says no backstory until page 50. Personally, I find it important to remember that these are rules of thumb. Some really good books break them.
                Message 7 of 11 , Feb 2, 2011
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                  Donald Maass says "no backstory until page 50."
                   
                   
                  Personally, I find it important to remember that these are rules of thumb. Some really good books break them.

                  Also, it depends on the length of your backstory...two sentences is different from two pages.
                   
                   
                   
                  ----- Original Message -----
                  Sent: Wednesday, February 02, 2011 13:30
                  Subject: [MagicalWordsBetas] Re: which comes first

                   

                  Hi Amy,

                  I’m with the other critters on this one.  Tim Powers spoke at Los Con last year and he said in at least 3 panels (I’m paraphrasing from memory) - in the first two chapters, every time you have the urge to explain something to the reader, don’t. Or if you can’t resist, write it all out and then cut it from the chapters and let someone read it. Don’t put anything back unless they are confused.

                  I always want to explain things to my reader, especially backstory, but he’s right.  The information should come out through action and implication. I went through my own WIP and did that and it helped a lot.


                  :) Sarah

                • Tom Gallier
                  Gasp. Argh. So hard to type right now...with my hands shaking so hard. Can t....explain...why...for another....fifty e-mails.....Uuuuggghhh. Wow. I never
                  Message 8 of 11 , Feb 2, 2011
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                    Gasp.  Argh.  So hard to type right now...with my hands shaking so hard.  Can't....explain...why...for another....fifty e-mails.....Uuuuggghhh.
                     
                    Wow.  I never heard that one, though I've always heard to keep all explanations/backstory to a minimum and dole it out only as needed.  that's hard enough.
                     

                    To: MagicalWordsBetas@yahoogroups.com
                    From: sadams@...
                    Date: Wed, 2 Feb 2011 10:30:11 -0800
                    Subject: [MagicalWordsBetas] Re: which comes first

                     
                    Hi Amy,

                    I’m with the other critters on this one.  Tim Powers spoke at Los Con last year and he said in at least 3 panels (I’m paraphrasing from memory) - in the first two chapters, every time you have the urge to explain something to the reader, don’t. Or if you can’t resist, write it all out and then cut it from the chapters and let someone read it. Don’t put anything back unless they are confused.

                    I always want to explain things to my reader, especially backstory, but he’s right.  The information should come out through action and implication. I went through my own WIP and did that and it helped a lot.


                    :) Sarah

                  • L. Jagi Lamplighter Wright
                    ... LOL ... To: MagicalWordsBetas@yahoogroups.com From: sadams@apu.edu Date: Wed, 2 Feb 2011 10:30:11 -0800 Subject: [MagicalWordsBetas] Re: which comes first
                    Message 9 of 11 , Feb 2, 2011
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                      >Gasp.  Argh.  So hard to type right now...with my hands shaking so hard.  Can't....explain...why...for another....fifty e-mails.....Uuuuggghhh.
                       
                      LOL
                       
                       

                      To: MagicalWordsBetas@yahoogroups.com
                      From: sadams@...
                      Date: Wed, 2 Feb 2011 10:30:11 -0800
                      Subject: [MagicalWordsBetas] Re: which comes first

                       
                      Hi Amy,

                      I’m with the other critters on this one.  Tim Powers spoke at Los Con last year and he said in at least 3 panels (I’m paraphrasing from memory) - in the first two chapters, every time you have the urge to explain something to the reader, don’t. Or if you can’t resist, write it all out and then cut it from the chapters and let someone read it. Don’t put anything back unless they are confused.

                      I always want to explain things to my reader, especially backstory, but he’s right.  The information should come out through action and implication. I went through my own WIP and did that and it helped a lot.


                      :) Sarah

                    • Sarah Adams
                      Tom ­ that¹s hilarious! Thanks for the midmorning laugh. ... Re: which comes first Tom thats hilarious! Thanks for the midmorning laugh.
                      Message 10 of 11 , Feb 3, 2011
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                        Re: which comes first Tom – that’s hilarious! Thanks for the midmorning laugh.

                        :) Sarah
                      • Amy
                        I m loving the input from all of you. It s in the third chapter and he is an important person in her life but as I think about the story I m not sure he s all
                        Message 11 of 11 , Feb 6, 2011
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                          I'm loving the input from all of you. It's in the third chapter and he is an important person in her life but as I think about the story I'm not sure he's all that important. It's like he is a thread that I never tie off at the end. Then again, the end isn't written. She hasn't decided who to stay with, there's been too many other things to worry about. I'll think about this some more.

                          Amy

                          --- In MagicalWordsBetas@yahoogroups.com, "L. Jagi Lamplighter Wright" <lampwright@...> wrote:
                          >
                          > Donald Maass says "no backstory until page 50."
                          >
                          >
                          > Personally, I find it important to remember that these are rules of thumb. Some really good books break them.
                          >
                          > Also, it depends on the length of your backstory...two sentences is different from two pages.
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          > ----- Original Message -----
                          > From: Sarah Adams
                          > To: MagicalWordsBetas@yahoogroups.com
                          > Sent: Wednesday, February 02, 2011 13:30
                          > Subject: [MagicalWordsBetas] Re: which comes first
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          > Hi Amy,
                          >
                          > I'm with the other critters on this one. Tim Powers spoke at Los Con last year and he said in at least 3 panels (I'm paraphrasing from memory) - in the first two chapters, every time you have the urge to explain something to the reader, don't. Or if you can't resist, write it all out and then cut it from the chapters and let someone read it. Don't put anything back unless they are confused.
                          >
                          > I always want to explain things to my reader, especially backstory, but he's right. The information should come out through action and implication. I went through my own WIP and did that and it helped a lot.
                          >
                          >
                          > :) Sarah
                          >
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