Story Berg and Goal Boat: A Lesson in Backstory (and Goals)

This is Part Two in the Write, Edit, Repeat Character Series.

Backstory. What’s backstory?

Backstory is whatever happened to the characters before the story starts. It’s the stuff that the writer knows (or discovers), but what doesn’t show up in the story that the reader is reading.

Backstory is the reason we have Pottermore. Rowling had so much backstory that she could make an entire interactive experience for her readers out of it. An obsessive fan base and millions of dollars to create it doesn’t hurt.

Anyway, the most logical visual for backstory is an iceberg. All the stuff under water might be interesting, in fact, it might be really really good. But if it isn’t absolutely necessary to drive the story forward, then it doesn’t need to appear above water, in the finished piece. Continue reading