Last week you began a deep dive into your characters pasts, this week lets keep exploring. Ask yourself what was the most traumatic event that happened to your characters before the story began. How did they act at the time of the trauma? How long ago was the trauma? How does the event still affect them today?
You’re awake. Instead of writing the Great American Novel—or even a mediocre one—you’re reading our blog. Okay, then. We offer a topic; you respond. Let your fellow writers inspire you, and return to that manuscript refreshed.
What was a book you had to read for your school’s summer reader that you unexpectedly liked?
Over the next month we’re going to delve more into your characters’ backstories and the past events that shaped the characters’ motivations, personalities and sense of morality. The things that your characters experienced in their lives before your story begins will affect how they act throughout your story.
To start, ask yourself whether or not your characters like themselves. What happened in their pasts that led them dislike or like who they are now?
There are lots of places in a book where the reader needs some detail but not a lot:
- When one character has to explain something to another character that the reader already knows.
- When characters travel from one place to another, but nothing key to the plot happens during the journey itself.
- When significant time passes between the end of one scene and the beginning of the next.
- When transitioning from one important sequence within a scene to the next key sequence.
In those cases—and a lot of others—writers summarize. Maybe summarize isn’t the correct literary term, maybe it’s telling when showing would be a waste of time. Either way, it’s something I struggle with. Continue reading