We’ve all been to the dump. It’s a smelly place, full of stuff nobody wants. Sure it was useful at some point in time, but not any more.
In writing we’ve all heard about the dreaded backstory dump. It is the place where you unload all the background information you think the reader needs to know in order to understand the story.
Dumping is a huge No-No in the Land of Writing.
I had someone read through my first chapter and I was told there were concerns regarding some of my dumping. The cool thing was this person proceeded to explain how I could make my story better. They sent me an email with examples of “before and after” paragraphs – first with backstory and then inserting snippets of backstory in dialogue.
Ahhhh, so THAT’s how it’s done!
I was so excited about taking this first chapter of mine and seeing if I could delete my dump and intersperse it throughout, usually some dialogue and inner-monologue. I also received another critique that echoed and confirmed my dumping problem. I was ready to use that delete button and get the job done.
Alas, I didn’t get to this chapter transformation this weekend like I wanted AND planned. My mom called and was giving us their king-sized bed. (they were upgrading!) Oh my goodness! We drove to the neighboring town of Granbury, an hour away, and picked up our wonderful-ly comfortable and LARGE bed! I spent the rest of the day cleaning and rearranging furniture, scattering the dust far and wide.
But oh, it was nice to fall into that big bed and have some elbow room! I felt like we were staying in a hotel, because the only time we ever sleep in king-size beds is when we travel! lol
So it is with great excitement that I begin to edit and rearrange this backstory problem of mine tonight. Wish me luck!
My question of the day: Have you tackled the problem of backstory dumping? Is it a problem with each and every manuscript? Or have you learned to spread it out in creative and unique ways?