Where's Amber?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Anybody know what happened to Amber? Well, let me tell you. Her seven month daughter is sick and she's up with her all night every night (ergo, she is referring to herself in the third person and using words like 'ergo').

In an intricate plot to swindle cookies from their zombie like mother, her three children have also made dang sure she's not able to take a nap.

She's also in the last throes of wresting edits out of her newest MS until it cries, "Uncle."

On top of all this, she is very frustrated with the publishing industry as a whole. She would like to formally berate said industry for failing to answer her submissions in over a year. She would berate said industry professionals (and she uses 'professionals' in the loosest possible terms), but will refrain as it is considered unprofessional, and as this post so succinctly shows, she is nothing but professional.

As a parting shot, to all publishers who still have her MS (and it's abundantly clear you have no idea who you are), she would like to invite you to kiss her big toe.


Ah, now anyone feel better?

Another Contest

Sunday, October 18, 2009
Another contest:


Two contests in a row. You're probably all wanting to punch me by now. But just think, if you win you will officially be a PUBLISHED AUTHOR.

Q4U: Tell me about contests you regularly enter or would like to enter in the future.

Nathan Bransford's Contest

Tuesday, October 13, 2009
This is an amazing contest that you should all enter.

Here's the first few lines I'm thinking of entering. Let me know what you think:


James Edward Tolman. How was I supposed to know that he would save my life—more than once? How could I know that it wasn’t the first time he had done so?

Effectively Integrating Backstory

Thursday, October 8, 2009
In my current WIP, I've been struggling with what to do with an important backstory scene. I felt it was integral to the story--something my readers would benefit from knowing. It set up the relationship between my characters, my MC motivation and weaknesses, sets up a strong undercurrent as it mirrors whats happening now, and sets up an ironic ending.

In short, including it would make the story stronger.

And yet weaker at the same time. Anytime you interrupt the forward momentum of the story by flashbacks, sometimes with prologues (as prologues set the reader up for A, then chapter one gives them A mixed with B, or even worse, straight B) you risk losing your readers.

So I was really struggling with what to do with this really important, life changing moment for my character. I toyed with using it as a prologue. I also toyed with splitting it into small chunks and delivering them as dreams.

Both of these methods seemed like I gave up as much or more that I gained. So I did some research. I studied out what some of my favorite books did with backstory information that the author considered integral to the plot.

One of the strongest influences was Catching Fire and Hunger Games (also Harry Potter). The MC father dies in a mine accident and the mother slips into depression, leaving the MC solely responsible for providing for her family at a very young age.

This moment was huge for all the same reasons my moment was. So how did Suzanne Collins integrate this information? She delivered it in small chunks, a paragraph or so at a time, when the character encountered experiences that drudged it up.

And it worked. It gave the character depth that couldn't have been achieved any other way.

So here's what I did. I wrote out the scene and saved it for later (when my book is a bestseller, I'll give it away for free on my website). Then I've delivered it in bits and pieces by way of memories. That way, my reader gets to piece together my character and her story one step at a time. This technique actually strengthened the story like a shot of steroids.

Here's a brief example from Daughter of Winter. My main character has just been beaten with a strap soaked in poison oak:

"The river felt so deliciously cool, soothing the itch and swelling . But only Rone's tight hold kept Ilyenna from bolting. She couldn’t swim, and anything deeper than her knees brought up memories. Memories of water bouncing her along the riverbed like a child with a new ball. She remembered seeing the sky through a window of ice. Ice she'd clawed at until each and every one of her fingernails had ripped off. "

Not only is the reader moving along with your character, they're learning a backstory that keeps them reading.

You probably all knew this already, but it really was a lightbulb moment for me!

Q4U: How to you incorporate backstory into your storyline?
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...