Tag Archives: backstory

Learn to Write by Reading: Mysterious pasts

WriteOwls logo 150 blackSuccessful writers say it all the time: To be a good writer, you need to be a good reader. So we challenge you to read more and to read outside of your comfort zone.

No matter the genre, a certain element of mystery is essential to a great story. When it’s done well, even a small, but pivotal mysterious event in a character’s past can add depth to the writing and augment the plot, drawing the reader in. But how do authors cultivate a reader’s curiosity about a character’s past without confusing the reader or disrupting the flow of the story? To find out, this month we’re focusing on books in which the author, through a series of hints and reveals, does a great job of building a mystery into a character’s backstory.

Alicia: Words of Radiance, by Brandon Sanderson
Laura: Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys
Megan: The Mime Order by Samantha Shannon
Naomi: Mosquitoland by David Arnold
Stacey: Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo