(Amelia Curzon, awesome writer of Mungai and the Goa Constrictor, you can come out of hiding now. I was only joking about having boozing hamsters along to your interview…)
So, to return frame one…the back story, before we get anywhere near the what happens next as regards frame 2… you know one hamster is going to be left thinking…
and turning into el beefo hamster in the process.
Well, one hamster is obviously a greedy, eye on the main chance and I’m having it too, hamster while the other is a whisker short of a beard. Or maybe the other is just a nice little hamster who believes in world peace, the druids of Stonehenge and letting every other hamster rob them blind.
Well, I might know sod all about it, I think that’s where the backstory comes in.
To begin my life with the beginning of my life, I record that I was born
Except Dickens had the very good sense to skim the unimportant events. When it comes to backstories, how much do we put in…especially when characters were also involved with one another in the backstory?
I guess that when it comes to backstories, and what you keep and what you throw into the mix, you keep the moments that shape your character…in terms of the story you’re telling and if your characters have shared history, like Dev and Saff,
Fury and Flint too,
you make sure that also connects with the plot.
But the important thing is don’t clunk, don’t info dump–we don’t need to know what they had for breakfast forty years ago and DON’T keep going over and over it. Think Titanic, think what goes in the life raft and what is simply gonna sink the ship.
It’s the future your reader is interested in. Not the past.
“Yes, you were quite right about that. About me too. I did kiss you ten years ago in that coach. I put my hand down your trousers too, for which I do most heartily apologize.”
She should. Truth shouldn’t be any of it. Was she going to apologize for that too? There must be a way of turning this round, so he could take something more than capitulation and a pair of burned trousers from the situation.
Seconds ticked by while she stood there coolly, the velvet folds of her gown inches from where he knelt. “But you knew that already, so I don’t imagine it’s exactly a surprise.”
Well, damn it. It wasn’t, was it? Was she going to take that as well? Rub his nose in the fact the pretense was so paper thin it was all right to be done with it? He averted his gaze.
“The Wentworth emeralds—”
The best thing he could think of saying and she had to start back like that as if a stray spark had burned her.
“What about the emeralds?”
As if she thought he still had them. The hole they’d burned in his pocket, why the hell would he? Or maybe it was the chamber maid she wanted to blame?
“Are you meaning before or after you put them in my pocket?”
Copyright Shehanne Moore Etopia Press