Your Host

« That Mysterious Keeper of the Keys and Honorary Mayor of »

« R o a r i n g      F a l l s™ »

« Dutch Rhudy's Logo  Dutch  Rhudy »


Welcome Friend and Thank You for visiting Backstory.

Authors and Writers use the term Backstory in different ways.  Most think backstory is a history of events and causes for what happened before their story started.  A narrative is often placed in the prologue to set the stage for the action that follows; However, if not done properly it can put the reader to sleep.  Others add little snippets of their backstory as required to set up the characters and plot.

A better choice would be the word Backgrounder or Background Story, to differentiate the earlier events and histories of those characters, what caused their motivation, the elements and places that make up the individual Scene Elements of your story.  A Backgrounder is the establishment of facts pertinent to set the stage, and reveal what happened which brought the characters to the starting point of your novel.

Within the publishing industry, each publisher has developed their own pet names for the various phases of work involved in the writing and publishing process, often used as department names; plus the many other operational steps to bring a new book to market.  In this venue; Backstory usually means the historic, tangible basis or foundation, from which any story may be built; and Backgrounder refers to the historical and current events that take place throughout this particular story.  A single backstory may spawn numerous backgrounders' for an entire series of novels, placed in any of several possible venues.

When working on serial novels, each character is identified and established with a full biography, maintained in their Character Sketch folder.  It is not uncommon for the protagonist to have several biographical sheets describing everything about this character, from their manner of dress and speech to their hobbies, favorite music, likes and dislikes.  Character Sketches require constant updating as new events unfold throughout the series of books; recording each event that produced a scar or caused a lost tooth; to prevent errors which readers always pick up on.

A full genealogical record of all characters mentioned in these stories are also meticulously recorded and maintained.  Parents, grandparents, children, husbands or wives, grandchildren, places lived, places worked, with links to their relatives and in-laws.  When they were born, when they moved away or moved into the stories location and when they die.

This is only the tip of the iceberg; we now must build the scenes.  The locations, lay of the land, every shed, house, structure, building, office and business, including the historical landmarks, and the history behind the city itself.  Neighboring cities or locations and their histories, whether appearing in the first novel or not, should be made a part of the Location Sketches for future reference.

Each element of the scene will be clearly defined and recorded, leaving no stone unturned.  Although it applies to every element, for simplicity we will consider a single home.  Each of these questions will complete a chronological outline for this home.  When was it built, by whom, where, what type of construction materials, what problems faced the building of the home, what maintenance did the home receive over the years, how did it meet its end, when was it razed, or did it go on to become a historical monument.

As with the Character Sketches, the Elements of the scenes are also frequently updated.  A shot fired left a bullet lodged in the frame of window, the bullet was recovered leaving a hole, the hole patched, the frame repainted, who, what when, where, why and how, will become a part of the record of this example home.

The above record-keeping completed, at least for the moment; we now arrive at the components that make up the Backstories individual elements.  Unlike a Backgrounder which contains storyline events; a Backstory is the solid foundational basis on which any story can be developed.  Depending on which genre an author chooses to write; the characters could be dragons, the locations other planets and their terrain, neighboring cities become neighboring planets, caves or portholes in space, and structures built from the imagination.

Individual elements of a Backstory include the chronological listings of land formations, static and tangible items, structures and places, including the people and families who arrive, live and leave or die.  Major historic events are sometimes included in the Static Chronological Listing for reference; however, they will also appear in the Historical Listing and final Backstory when all the elements are combined.

For many serial novelists, and most in-house publishers, the final Backstory reads much like a history book for the story's setting, often reaching farther back than the novels dictate, and extending forward in time to well beyond where they intend the series of novels to close.  As such, it does contain several pertinent events normally found in the Backgrounder.  In addition, a separate publishable brief historic account may be written, pointing out the major historical aspects, as a giveaway item or gift for avid readers.

In some stories, time appears to stand still, as all scenes take place during the same brief time period. Even so, the element of time movement exists, even if only by a few seconds or minutes; however, this is usually by a few days or weeks.  In the above scenario, even though time may appear to stand still, the location and setting may remain static, but the characters and events do move forward, time cannot stand still for them or no action would take place.

The Backstory is an accumulation of all the locations historic facts, and contains a chronology of the static and tangible, structures, places and people's, the foundation on which all your stories will be based.  Whereas a Backgrounder contains the events that have taken place to set the story, including events that take place in the future within this same publication.  The Backstory is the basis on which a Backgrounder is built to set the stage for the your story, and from which excerpts are used within the story.

In summary; A Backstory is the solid tangible historic foundation; and the Backgrounder is the recording of fluid happenings relating to the events that occur before the story takes place, and often before each scene change in the story.  The Backgrounder describes the motives, personality, reasons and events; you draw from to highlight and reveal necessary facts to keep your story flowing smoothly.

As the author of your novel, you already have most of these details recorded in your head, key elements jotted down on scraps of paper, or in note files on your computer, and possibly your first novel is nearing completion or submitted to a publisher.  You have a winner, your new novel may skyrocket to the top of the charts; the publisher calls and wants a sequel on his desk in thirty days, and will provide all the help you need to meet that deadline.  You gasp, that is impossible, it took me a year to write and polish this first novel.

Although Plot Points are not covered in this article; if you have built a solid Backstory and crafted a Master Outline to carry through several sequels; the First Plot Point for each novel is already established.  A brief Backgrounder for your next novel emphasizing the First Plot Point, will usually suffice for making the publisher happy, and will give something for the assistants to help you develop the next part of the story right away.

We expect to make public, progressive segments of the Backstory used for our Roaring Falls Series, as we move beyond each historic era, and chronological set-point within the story.  Nearly completed, is a stand-alone book covering the entire History of Roaring Falls.  Written in an identical fashion to how a History book of your home-town might be compiled and published.  Due to possible spoilers for later series releases of Roaring Falls, the date of publication has not been determined.  However, timed generic excerpts from this book can be found in the History section of this website.

Return To Top

Image of Bluff Falls Waterfall
Dutch Rhudy's Logo

Valid HTML5

Valid CSS level 3

fast installation
Order Corporate Gifts