Sharing the backstory of Ro and her world
As a writer I want to create “living” characters in my books; people my readers can readily identify with. What that means is for each major character there needs to be a backstory; who are they, what experiences have they had that make them who they are today, and which to a large part determines how and why they react as they do in whatever is the book’s immediate plot situation?
The more of this backstory I can create, then the more I understand the character and the more believable they become. In fact, that is a question always in the front of my mind as I’m writing: Is what this character is saying or doing in the book plausible given who they are? The opposite side of that coin is, of course, that what I don’t want is to be the one just manipulating the character to provide some improbable dramatic situation; which would, in turn, then cause my readers to say, perhaps consciously, perhaps unconsciously, “Ro wouldn’t really do that!”
In fact, I often find that when I’m thinking about some possible future plot situation Ro or one of the other characters might find themselves in I discover I need to develop the backstory that would support that situation. And yes, I do find myself rejecting possible plot situations because the backstory I needed to create just didn’t fit the character.
As a result, I have something like 15,000 words of backstory in several dozen files about Ro, her family and friends, what it means to be a cop, where she lives, where she works, her school years, her love life, her beliefs and philosophies.
Unfortunately, in order for the story to move along – to not get bogged down in too much detail − only a relatively small amount of this material usually ends up in the novel, maybe only as a sentence or two or at best a paragraph or two.
So, what I propose is that on a regular basis I will publish in this blog portions of that backstory material, stuff that informs who the characters are but would probably not ever actually appear in a novel.
My earlier posts about “Who is Ro?” and “Ro as a Millennial” would be examples of the kind of thing I have in mind.
Are you curious to know more about Ro and who she is? I’d love to hear from you on this…
(C) 2017 Dave Lager