©2010 by Robert J Ray and Jack Remick

Backstory – Antagonist, Protagonist and Time…

Backstory–what is it? Why do you need it? If Story is competition for a resource base the writer needs to show how the characters got to where they are. What happened before the story opened? That’s backstory. Fiction is the artful infusion of the past into the narrative present. Backstory determines present action. Writers who don’t know the backstory tend to plot on the fly and plotting on the fly creates huge plot holes that take years of doctoring to fix. So–avoid those holes, write lots of good backstory for each of the characters in your work. Know the backstory.

One way to get good backstory is to work backwards in time. Set your timer for five minutes for each jump back. As usual, write until the timer rings. Always finish what you start.

Hint: Go as far back as you have to. Five years, ten years…

  • 1 hour before my story opens, the antagonist…
  • 1 day before my story opens, the antagonist…
  • 1 month before my story opens, the antagonist
  • 1 year before my story opens, the antagonist
  • 1 hour before my story opens, the protagonist
  • 1 day before my story opens, the protagonist
  • 1 month before my story opens, the protagonist
  • 1 year before my story opens, the protagonist
  • 1 hour before my story opens, the helper…