"Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia." ~E.L. Doctorow

Friday, January 14, 2011


As a writer I have found that there are some stories out there that don’t need a backstory and then again there are some stories where it’s absolutely essential. My current story is one of the later.

The further I entered the world, the more I found that I needed to create the backstory simply for motivational purposes. Why is the main character doing this? What happened that made the love interest this way? How did their world become the way it is?

In the end, I had to create two stories just to tell the one I originally set out to tell - a secret world behind the public one.

It was a very fun process – writing the hidden side but also it took a lot of additional effort. Now I can easily understand why people come out with prequels after their series is over. It’s already there.

So what do you all think of writing backstories? Or backstories in general? Do you like them? Do you think they’re a waste of time?

I want to hear your opinions.


Anjali said...

So funny-- I just wrote a blog post on my own blog about backstory! I'm having real issues with it!

C.M. Villani said...

Mine definately has been a work in progress, Anjali. And it's not finished but what I do have has been really helpful in the evolution of my true story.

What's the problem yours?

Anjali said...

I can't quit telling backstory. I'm getting too distracted from the main plot!

C.M. Villani said...

HAHAHA! I think your story is trying to tell you something, Anjali. :D

The good news..you'll have two stories to publish when you're done.

Cat said...

I LIVE by backstories. The only problem with them, is that I find I want to share everything I've discovered with my readers, and they're not as interested in it as I am.

C.M. Villani said...

I have to agree. I really love backstories from both a reader's and writer's perspective.

See I always thought it was like an awesome insider secret when my favorite authors would let "slip" little snip-its about the backstory.

As a writer though, maybe it takes some restraint on our behalf though, not to disclose the whole thing. A few tidbits here and there could work better to peak our readers' interest in the hidden stuff.

Always leave them wanting, Cat! :D

Michelle Gwynn Jones said...

I write legal mysteries which usally start when the attorney gets invovled...even though there is the backstory of the crime or dispute it usually doesn't go that far "back". I do find that when I am developing a new character it is often necessary for my sake to know more about his history, most of which will never make it into the novel.

C.M. Villani said...

Hey Michelle~
Yeah I think it necessary for an author to come up with backstories for their Characters. Without them you have no idea what the character's motivation is for what he/she does.

Thanks for stopping by!

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