Saturday, February 19, 2011

Beginnings and Back Story

So, "The Happy Kind" is now in queryland. Albeit, in one or two cases, a bit too soon. I realized a couple of things. My first paragraph just wasn't quite what it needed to be. Tully's voice wasn't clear enough, and I had started with dialogue.

A critique partner lambasted me for my 2 pages of backstory in Chapter Two. I convinced myself that she was crazy. Couldn't she see how essential they were to the story? I wasn't info-dumping. How dare she! But it stayed there, her little over the web line voice niggling me. I sent those two chapters off to my beta reader and asked, "too much backstory, is this an info dump?" By that point, I'd wittled it down to about a page and a half. She said it was fine. And honestly, it was. The writing was good, there was dialogue and scene in the backstory, but it just really wasn't essential.

One of the two books I ordered after my depressing rejection on my first full request was "Hooked: Write Fiction that Grabs Readers at Page One and Never Lets Them Go" by Les Edgerton. I love this book. If you dont have it, buy it. So now, all apologies to my critique partner, she was right. I axed the backstory. I didn't need it. I combined those first three chapters into two, and I got more tension. Everything I really needed is still there.

So now, it's just the waiting. To see who might be willing to take a risk on this somewhat unconventional story. I hope someone loves it a much as I do.


  1. You can laugh at me. For the workshop I attended, I polished and polished my first 10 pages and got told it was mostly backstory.

    Ie: dramatize rather than tell.

  2. I like to start my stories with action, but I've actually been told that I start too late rather than to early. I think it can come down to agent preference. Some liked my opening because there wasn't backstory and others said they wanted more backstory so they could get to know the character better at the start. Like you said, it's all about finding that one person who loves your writing and is ready to take the challenge of getting your work published. Good luck!

  3. It's all just a big crap shoot with a lot of learning, love, perseverance, and gusto! I tell myself, follow my heart, let the characters speak, and hopefully my craft will get up to speed before I'm feeding worms.


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