Author Topic: Backstory and point of view  (Read 779 times)

Lin

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Backstory and point of view
« on: October 12, 2017, 10:32:34 AM »
Okay I hope there is someone out there who can answer this for me.

I've been struggling for some time with my romantic saga.  This was mainly due to moving house etc.  However, having sent the book to my editor, she feels that part of the story doesn't tie up and she wants me to make that happen.

Fine, you might say, should be easy enough. Just make another chapter or show it through the story.   On this occasion, the bit that doesn't tie up, happened ten years before.  My main story is written in first person. It is the story of one person with other characters. What is happening now, is tied in to what happened ten years ago.  1966 is the era and the main part of the book is written in 1976. 

I decided the best way forward was to write past scenes in third person and begin the novel with that chapter which is dated years before. (Not a prologue)  I had hoped that the third person story might show the past better. My editor doesn't want me to show what happened ten years before through the eyes of the other characters. My readers need to see the action in that time.  Then move on in first person to the main story.  I have seen this done many times in other novels.   Tell me what you think about this idea. 

I was concerned that if I put the earlier story into the main one, it would look as if I had plonked it in there and it wouldn't fit. I thought that if I put the past history into the beginning, it would keep the reader reading wondering how it all ties in.

Your comments will be helpful to me.

Lin

Offline Simple Things

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Re: Backstory and point of view
« Reply #1 on: October 12, 2017, 02:34:48 PM »
This reply comes from my point of view  -  treat it as such :)

I don't believe 3rd is needed, and would suggest to keep it in 1st past tense(probably how the rest of the story is anyway.

This is my reason:

Sometimes writers work so hard trying to squeeze something inside of another story, they end up with ragged ends on either side. There really is no need most times. An example of said reunion.

I opened the door, and there she stood.

"Jackie?..."

*

Ten Years Ago in Chicago

"Are we gonna make it to the concert?"

Both Jackie and I were both out of breath and the bar was still three blocks away.

"If you pedal your ass we might!" Jackie teased between a stride from her athletically long legs.....

*

"Oh. Lin. Hi... Long time no see."

Jackie's smile was just as fake.

joining the story and their characters' history. It fits into the story because at the time of first introduction, the reader doesn't know enough about 'Jackie' to mind being pulled away. And with the benefit of a story told in the same pov, there is no lost connection. Once the 'old facts' have been brought to light, then the story begins at that initial re-introduction, but the readers know more now and share that history.

How long does it have to be? As long as it takes, but remember like any tool, backstory is not for the sake of backstory, but for the sake of the story. Always. :)

Again, these are only my opinions. I imagine you'll find your way that works for both you and your editor.

We over think simple things with obvious answers, as writers.

no pun intended.

Congrats on the progress

Lin

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Re: Backstory and point of view
« Reply #2 on: October 12, 2017, 02:42:51 PM »
The only problem with that is, this new chapter is not my main character's first person story.  She is the one telling the story all the way through, she is the victim of circumstance and the story she is involved in did not happen in her era, it's what happened ten years later. My editor wants me to show the action from ten years previous. I cannot see that first person is an option.

Thanks for the ideas. I will double read your words.

Lin
« Last Edit: October 14, 2017, 06:10:03 AM by Lin Treadgold - Author »

Offline Simple Things

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Re: Backstory and point of view
« Reply #3 on: October 12, 2017, 04:21:02 PM »


Yes, then, you could use third; objective/narrative.

or
 
incorporate it into the present time story, maybe people were talking and someone's old bones gets dug up.

Not seeing the whole of the novel, it is hard to say.


Jo Bannister

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Re: Backstory and point of view
« Reply #4 on: October 13, 2017, 11:50:32 AM »
Lin, I think you're asking the wrong people.  If your editor has a clear idea of how to incorporate this part of your story, and you're still struggling to see how, ask her to explain, in as much detail as it takes.  She has read the typescript, whereas we have not.  Time for her to earn her oats, I would have said.


Lin

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Re: Backstory and point of view
« Reply #5 on: October 14, 2017, 04:52:03 AM »
Well, she has explained it but didn't suggest how to make it happen.  I thought that was up to me as the writer of the story. 

Lin

Offline hillwalker3000

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Re: Backstory and point of view
« Reply #6 on: October 14, 2017, 12:06:34 PM »
Does she need to discover what happened 10 years ago herself? If so, could she maybe read a newspaper report or a diary entry reporting these events? If not, maybe you could subtly introduce them to the reader through dialogue (without falling into the trap of exposition through dialogue).

H3K

Lin

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Re: Backstory and point of view
« Reply #7 on: October 16, 2017, 10:18:05 AM »
No that's exactly what I'm not supposed to do.  Third party reporting doesn't work in this respect.  I have now written a new chapter and with a bit of tweaking throughout, it now works to let the reader know 'who done it' at the start and allow the characters to lead their lives ten years on discovering what really happened. It has become more of an exciting story.

Thanks to all for your input.

Lin  :D

Offline Mark T

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Re: Backstory and point of view
« Reply #8 on: November 06, 2017, 04:22:20 PM »

Hi Lin - just passing by, and hoping that this doesn't sound too simplistic but what about incorporating the year-setting into the chapter headings? That way you could easily keep it in first person present tense and avoid any tedious flashback-type transitions every time you want to switch time periods back and forth to build the story. Even the dullest reader should be able to keep up.

Nottingham
1976