Tag Archives: novellas

Writing Fiction Made Easier: Get Out Of Backstory Hell

Writing Fiction Made Easier: Get Out Of Backstory Hell

I’ve just looked at this blog’s stats for the past 12 months, and this post on backstory (kill it) is by far the most popular post. I’m not surprised. When you’re writing fiction, backstory is a challenge for new authors.

To reiterate from that post:

Resist the Impulse to Explain

New writers start off great. They get the woman in the trunk of the car (or create some other hot action which starts things off.) Then they feel they need to explain who the woman is, and how she landed in the trunk of a car. They go on for pages and pages. RESIST! Please do not do this.

How to manage backstory: remove it when you’re editing

Important… Don’t worry about backstory in your first draft. Just write.

Remove ALL backstory when you’re editing.

You can add backstory into your novel/ novella/ short story, very carefully after your “slash and burn” editing fury. Restrain yourself. Only a sentence or two at a time. And only if you must add it for the story to make sense.

Here’s what a new author’s backstory hell looks like

I work with lots of writing students, so I may be more sensitive to backstory hell than most.

Here’s a common problem I see — messed-up scenes.

Not only does the new author cram backstory into a scene until the scene’s mangled beyond repair… he crams yet more backstory into the backstory.

Here’s what that looks like:

  • the scene starts. You settle down for an enjoyable scene between two characters, then the author inserts…
  • backstory 1, of one of the characters…
  • in the middle of backstory 1, you get backstory 2, the backstory of the other character…
  • Finally the author remembers he’s writing a scene. So you get a snippet of the scene (by this time the reader’s head is spinning like a top). After just a few paragraphs of the scene, the author inserts…
  • something or other, which may be backstory, or maybe it’s a flashback, who knows?

Sadly, readers have long-since stopped reading.

Forget backstory, PLEASE

Just kill it wherever you find it.

Keep your story moving forward.

Write in scenes, remembering that a scene happens in the present moment, just like a movie scene. There’s no room for backstory in a scene.

I blame advice like “write a character bio” for backstory hell. As I said in Kill Your Backstory:

If you’ve been happily creating character bios, and other junk, stop it. Who cares what flavor of ice cream your main character prefers?

The best way to create character bios is to do it while you’re writing. Yes, you need to remember that your main character’s eyes are brown, not blue, and that he lives with his Uncle Jake, who’s going out with Selma from the diner.

I copy and paste all this must-remember material into a single “characters” document in Scrivener. Then I open that document in Quick Ref while I’m writing the novel.

If you’ve been creating lengthy character bios before you start writing, STOP IT. Otherwise you’ll be tempted to insert all this junky material as backstory while you’re writing.

Step By Step To Fiction Which Sells: Plotting And Scene Magic

Step By Step To Fiction Which Sells: Plotting And Scene Magic

eBook: $5.99

Your readers want to enter your novel's world. They want to experience your book -- they want to live your book with your main characters.

More info →
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Plot Hot-Selling Fiction The Easy Way

Plot Hot-Selling Fiction The Easy Way

$5.99
Author:
Series: Selling Writer Strategies, Book 3
Genre: Writing

How To Write Novels And Short Stories Readers Love: You're about to discover the easiest, fastest, and most fun plotting method ever. You can use it for all your fiction, whether you're writing short stories, novellas or novels. Take control of your fiction now, and publish more, more easily.

More info →
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Buy from Scribd
Buy from Kobo
Buy from Apple Books
Buy from Amazon Kindle

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Short Fiction Magic: New Online Fiction Writing Class

Short Fiction Magic: New Online Fiction Writing Class

If you enjoy writing short stories, you’ll love our new fiction writing class. Discover our short fiction blueprint.

Kindle Short Fiction Domination: Today’s Blueprint For Writing Success And Income — a brand new short fiction writing class

Discover an easily replicable, step by step blueprint to writing, publishing and selling short fiction. You’ll multiply your Kindle sales exponentially.

Here’s a brief outline of the class.

  • Week 1: an introduction to writing short stories, genre, and an explanation of how the blueprint works. Full instructions are included.
  • Week 2: your short story blueprint — setup, obstacles, climax. How to plan stories in advance. (Or not — your choice. You can work backwards if you choose. You’ll write great stories, either way.)
  • Week 3: writing fast, and self-editing. Working on several stories concurrently — you’ll LOVE this.
  • Week 4: publishing, and making Kindle Unlimited work for you.

Each week, for four weeks, you receive a new lesson, in PDF format, via a download link sent to your email inbox.

As the class continues, you’ll your own short stories, and discover the Kindle short fiction BLUEPRINT… What to publish, and when, so that your Amazon income steadily increases.

New to writing fiction? You’ll enjoy this class

It may even get you started on a brand new career.

I’ve discussed the genesis of the class here:

In the final months of 2014, I took a brave step. I removed all my short fiction ebooks under various pen names from all other ebook retailers and enrolled them in KDP Select. Several of my students told me that they were having great results with their Kindle short fiction in Kindle Unlimited (KU) — I wanted to see whether it would work for me.

Want to sell more Kindle fiction?

If you’re already writing fiction, publishing short stories gives all your fiction a kick. You appear on Amazon’s New Releases lists more frequently. This gives readers new opportunities to discover your fiction.

Join us.

Kindle Short Fiction Domination: Today’s Blueprint For Writing Success And Income (4-week class)

Short Fiction Domination

Want to write short fiction and build a successful career? For the first time in decades, it’s possible to write short stories and make a great income. Each week, for four weeks, you receive a new lesson, in PDF format, via a download link sent to your email inbox.

As we move through the class, you’re not only writing your own short stories, you’re also discovering the Kindle short fiction BLUEPRINT… What to publish, and when, so that your Amazon income steadily increases. Join us. 🙂

, on Twitter: @angee, and find Angela on Pinterest, too.

How to profit from your writing: online store.

Write A Novel: Quick Tips To Get Started (and keep going)

Write A Novel: Quick Tips To Get Started (and keep going)

You want to write a novel, but you’re not sure how to get started. We’ve got lots of tips to help. But first — are you sure you want to write a novel? Why not practice with some short fiction?

Novellas and short stories sell well on Amazon, because of Kindle Unlimited. Subscribers to the Kindle service can read anything they like, for free. You get paid whenever a reader reads more than ten per cent of one of your ebooks. As you can imagine, it’s very easy for readers to get to 10% of a short story, and… ka ching.

Have fun writing your novel: if you’re having fun, so are readers. For the first time in decades, writing fiction can be profitable. Will YOU make lots of money? Probably not. But if you love to tell stories, you can share them with the world at the click of the Publish button… what’s not to like about that?

Story Power: short stories made easy

Story Power

Story Power — insider secrets of writing short stories and making them work for you: writing serials, and series.

Write with me: over four weeks, you’ll discover HOW to not only write short fiction, but also make money at it. I make a very nice income ghostwriting fiction for clients, and also selling my own short fiction under various genre pen names.

, on Twitter: @angee, and find Angela on Pinterest, too.

How to profit from your writing: online store.