A Novel with No “Front” Story

cigaretteheartI just read a novel by a best-selling author and not to mention names, but most of the book was “back story.” By the time I was 25 pages in, a huge irritant was the word “had.”  The plot almost immediately evolves  into a long chase scene inhabited by characters who the reader gets to know primarily from their past experiences. They’re too busy running away in real time to give you any insight. I like learning about a character from how the character lives in the story as well as from the past.

I don’t quite know why the author chose to construct a story that relied so heavily on past events. Sadly, these events had to be “explained” to the reader for pages and pages and pages—you get the idea. Surely, there are more interesting ways to give character information to the reader.

There are always going to be events or emotions based on an earlier time and the reader needs to know them.

Yes, hard to avoid, that “had” word. I thought that a famous author would have a more creative way of packaging character back story. What are your favorite tricks?

Mickey Hoffman is author of School of Lies, published by Second Wind Publishing.
visit her at www.mickeyhoffman.com where you can take the quiz “Can you spot a Liar?”


Filed under writing

3 responses to “A Novel with No “Front” Story

  1. Doesn’t sound like my kind of book. Funny how once you notice something, like the word ‘had,’ it just really stands out to you.

  2. But somehow I still don’t notice when it’s in my own writing till I get to the edits. There again, I don’t notice the words completely mis-spelled, mis-used, or even simply mistaken. Blue apples anyone?

  3. christinehusom

    It is difficult to work in much backstory without over doing it. It certainly slows the pace and I find too much of it boring, too. Good question!

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