M. K. Theodoratus, Fantasy Writer, blogs about the books she reads--mostly fantasy and mystery authors whose books catch her eye and keep her interest. Nothing so formal as a book review, just chats about what she liked. Theodoratus also mutters about her own writing progress or ... lack of it.


Saturday, November 24, 2012

Does Your Backstory Clump like Lumpy Gravey

Back story can be a bitch. Inserting information smoothly, aka back story, into my story lines is one of the most difficult craft skills I'm trying to master. My Far Isle Half-Elven stories have over 400 years of history, and I explain too much too often.

I imagine setting up back story in the opening of a novel in a series is especially difficult. The more books in the series, the harder it is not to explain everything that happened before. Got hit over the head by this idea when I read Yasmine Galenorn's Shadow Rising. This eighth book in the DiArtigo sisters' Otherworld series tells its story from the viewpoint of Menolly, the vampire sister. [my favorite]

Demons threaten the Otherworld, but the sisters have their hands full with malicious ghosts erupting in the mortal world. Menolly must solve her personal problems -- her relationship to the Vampire's queen's son and her coming promise ceremony with her lover -- while the minions of the Lord of Ghosts attack on the sisters' mixed household of supernaturals.

That comes close to a log line, but it doesn't give the book full justice.  I love how Galenorn grows not only her major characters but many of the secondary characters within the story line. The plot line is filled with creative, twisting action.  Once it starts rolling, that is. Yeah, I found this volume a slow start with lumps of back story in the first chapters that sometime seemed like info-dumps.

The goal to reach for? A writer needs to scatter it through the chapters of his/her book like a rare spice. Too much back story slows down the read. I tell myself that over and over when I'm editing a story. Maybe that's why I stumbled over the back story because I'm trying to get Bad Luck Emma to read faster.

Rating: Galenorn's a master, but I only gave the book Four Stars at Goodreads because it didn't keep me up pass my bedtime.


What's going on with my own writing. I'm trying to find book reviewers for Troublesome Neighbors at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Transferred the first fourth of my ruler edits of Bad Luck Emma. Beating back Mac who wants her story started ... now, instead of dinking with the opening lines.
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