Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Backstories

Incorporating backstories into your fiction is an art. There's no real right or wrong way of doing it. But there are some best practices.   But I'm not here to talk about those techniques.

I'm one of those writers who try to work everything out in my head, but sometimes there's just too much backstories to work through and keep straight. I find myself having to put my thoughts on paper (or in a computer file) to sort through all the stuff: the backgrounds, the interconnections, the relationships, the character sketches, etc. I also use a tool called Personal Brain to string everything together in kind of an organic way. It's a pretty good tool to lay out all these interconnected thoughts -- you can jump and set up links between thoughts.

If you find yourself struggling with lots of backstories in your head, try to set the actual manuscript aside and start on a new file/page, and start typing about the backstories, things about your characters, etc. etc. Free style. Stream of consciousness. Whatever that comes to your mind.

But just get it all out. And it will be a work in progress. As you continue with your main ms., you can refer to that and change things. But at least you'll have someone tangible, and not just a tangle in your mind.

4 comments:

peggy said...

Ray, you write beautifully and I hope you know I was just playing on the roast today. May you do great things. Or to quote one of my heros..yeah I'm wierd. "Live long and be phosporhus" I love your blogs..all of them are fun reads.

Ray Wong said...

Thanks Peggy!

Joanne said...

Hey, Ray! This personal brain thing sounds pretty neat. Wish I had one...brain that is. hehe. I'm slowly getting caught up reading. I'm really proud of you for continuing to write AND keep up your blog. I'll be back as soon as I get that tangle out of my brain. :)

Ray Wong said...

Love you, Joanne. I'm going to link to your blog so you'd better keep writing and updating! :)