Saturday, April 3, 2010

Day 6, April 3, 2010

Today, I want to mention a couple things about storytelling that are part of most good novels but should rarely if ever call attention to themselves: backstory and plausible convergence. Backstory gets mentioned by non-writers a lot more these days than it did prior to the last few years. Remember, I mentioned in the first post on this blog that I wrote biographies for my principal characters? Biographical information is part of a backstory. So are actions taken by the characters in the story or actions incidental to the character, e.g. Jack robbed a bank or Jack was in a back that got robbed and he saw who did it. Information from the backstory can be crucial to character development, plot development or both. Thing is, backstory should not be delivered by the truckload, especially not at either the beginning or end of the story. That is clunky writing. Backstory should be assembled piece by piece in the fashion of a mosaic, so the reader can see a picture taking shape.

The other thing I want to mention is plausible convergence. One character should not make a sharp left turn just as another is making a sharp right turn. A collision like that in quaint movie vernacular is called a meet cute. Again, it’s just clunky writing. Much better to have characters intersect at the end of two arcs, smooth long lines drawn from believable circumstances. A discerning reader still might see it coming, but he or she won’t object to it, will believe in the inevitably of it.

I was working in backstory and plausible convergence today. Wrote 1,800 words. Not bad for a Saturday with other demands on my time. Up to almost 12,000 words for the past week.

Day 6 of writing my new novel is done.

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