Blog The Writing Process Holding Back Your Backstory

Holding Back Your Backstory

How Much Backstory Is Too Much

Many of our writers tell us they struggle with knowing how much backstory is too much. So when we saw this great post over on DailyWritingTips, we knew we had to share!

Let's dive in...

"Authors call the hidden part of a character’s life their “backstory.” When I was acting in plays, directors might ask me to decide what my character was doing before the scene began. Since my character is supposed to be a real human being, he has a life outside of what appears on the stage or on the page. Every character is like an iceberg – there is more to the character than appears on the surface. If it’s a minor character, the reader may never learn much about what is under the surface. But even if you don’t write about it, it still has to exist. A 25-year-old woman, by definition, has 25 years of life experience. Unless she was raised by wolves, she was raised by people, even if your story never mentions it. Everything she does, she does for a reason, unless she is mentally ill, and even then, as they say, there is reason in her madness."

Read the rest of the article on their blog.

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Hayley Milliman

Hayley Milliman

Content Lead

Hayley is the Head of Learning at ProWritingAid. Prior to joining this team, Hayley spent several years as an elementary school teacher and curriculum developer in Memphis, TN. When Hayley isn't hunched over her keyboard, you can find her figure skating at the ice rink or hiking with her dog.

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