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Welcome Wednesday Interviews are listed on the 2015 Guest menu located above. Upcoming interviews feature authors,
Sheila Connelly, Susan Sundwall, Elaine Orr, James M. Jackson, and Annette Dashofy.

Congratulations to James M. Jackson! Jim's Seamus McCree novel, Ant Farm, was chosen for the Kindle Select program. When it is available, we'll post a link here!

Read KM Rockwood's desperate man story, "Liquor Store Hold up" at Jack Hardway's Crime Magazine, March-April 2015 edition. It's a short story with a twist!

Two WWK bloggers, Gloria Alden and Paula Gail Benson, have short stories in the Let it Snow: The Best of Bethlehem Writers Roundtable, Winter 2015 Collection. The volume is available at Amazon for just $.99. Download a copy and read while the snowing is falling. Congratulations Gloria and Paula!

Jim Jackson using his pen name Giles Elderkin has a story in the newly released History and Mystery, Oh My! anthology. Currently available in Kindle format.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

BACKSTORY REVISITED

I’m using Ramona’s blogs on “Battling Backstory” and “The First Chapter Coloring Project” to revise my first three chapters. Advice on writing could fill a city library so no writer can legitimately claim lack of help led to bad writing. As a writer, I think writers hear what they need at the time they need it. I was wondering what to do with those first three chapters that I’ve read a hundred times and remembered Ramona’s blogs.

After removing backstory from the first chapter, I focused on showing character traits and leaving interesting questions to be answered later. The process felt like removing clutter from a closet so everything inside was visible as soon as the door opened.

I’ve never used the omniscient voice that sounds very nineteenth century to me. Past experiences with others do motivate our relationships in the present. A character’s opinion of another character lets the reader know about both characters. In my writing, I often omit the thinking that precedes a character’s action. Critique partners have commented on this but not all of my critics want the omission rectified. In my heart, I believe we are what we do. Sure, we often need to think before we act but, if we keep thinking about life and not doing anything, are we living in any way except the biological?

I think the often subconscious idea that actions speak louder than words gives us a sensitive antenna for hypocrisy. If a person keeps telling us how much she loves her family and friends, I wonder if she has many unresolved relationship issues and could be manipulating family and friends for her own gratification. If a person keeps telling me what a great sex life she has, I wonder if she’s covering up fears and dislike for her partner or partners.

Acting on Ramona’s advice, I’ve removed backstory from the first chapter. Now, I’m working on how my characters think about their histories, those snippets and flashes in the mind that color what characters do. A character steps up on a stage to present her point of view and remembers the constant teasing she received as a teenager so her heart rate triples and she gives a lousy performance.

Revision makes a writer expand or deepen characters. Thank you to Ramona and all the authors who’ve written books about writing.

1 comment:

Ramona said...

I'm happy to know my posts were helpful to you, Pauline. Your comment about your characters considering their histories has me intrigued today. You've returned the favor.