1. L.W Schmidt
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    L.W Schmidt Member

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    Will my reader care about backstory?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by L.W Schmidt, Nov 26, 2015.

    I'm currently writing a novel that follows a young German Lieutenant during WW2. My problem is that I'm unsure whether to include his backstory, which currently makes up the first chapter of the book. Will I make the reader feel more sympathy towards my character if I detail what his life was like before the war? Or will I just dump a lot of useless information on them and make them wish they'd never started reading in the first place?
     
  2. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    *shrug*

    Depends. Will I see this backstory having some kind of direction, some reason for its presence while you are giving it to me? If the answer is no, then I'm likely to start the book disappointed that what was touted as a riveting WWII war story is in fact a rather banal depiction of someone's life in Generic Town, Northern Germany.
     
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  3. Lifeline
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    Lifeline The Dark - not in Wonderland Supporter Contributor

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    Adding to @Wreybies, you can can always include the pertinent bits later, when they have an impact :)
     
  4. L.W Schmidt
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    L.W Schmidt Member

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    @Wreybies Yeah, I suppose that's my biggest problem, making backstory relevant to the plot. My aim was to try and create a contrast between his old life and his life during the war, but honestly like @Lifeline said, it would probably be easier to just feed the most important parts of information throughout. Thanks to both of you for replying, I was really hung up on this :)
     
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  5. NeighborVoid
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    NeighborVoid Active Member

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    It depends on if the backstory will give new information and insight on the current plot. If the backstory is irrelevant to the main story, it might as well exist in a vacuum.

    A good way to make sure your backstory doesn't become an unrelated information dump is to develop it alongside everything else.
     
  6. L.W Schmidt
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    L.W Schmidt Member

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    @NeighborVoid Yeah, my backstory currently seems like a really boring info dump, so I'm definitely going to try and weave parts of it into the main plot instead. Thanks for replying!
     

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