Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Blockage: The writing heart attack waiting to happen!

I can't help myself.

ONE more surgery/health/hospital analogy, then I'm done. I promise

BTW, Dad is STILL in the hospital. UGH! Can't get his oxygen levels up so they called in a lung specialist. Should know more today. Maybe he'll go home???

Okay, on to my, um, analogy.

I like hamburgers. I'll admit it. and I LOVE LOVE LOVE good ole greasy french fries. Top it off with a Pepsi and some ice cream (with brownies of course) and the world is right again. (Can you see why I have a difficult time dieting??)

So all is well, you're munching on your greasy fries and feelin' good (er, if you're like me, NOT so good at times) and all the sudden it hits you. Heartburn. Really bad. Then you realize, OH NO! You've had a....

Heart attack!

Well, no wonder when you've just been snackin' on food that entered your mouth, went down your esophagus and straight to your arteries.

Doctor does a few tests and says there is blockage... that's right, your arteries are CLOGGED. The blood can't flow right because of the junk in the way.

And how does this relate to writing?

I propose that the JUNK in our BOOK arteries is...

BACK STORY!

Or... for some it could be too many adverbs, adjectives and other stuff, but today I'm focusing on the back-story buildup.

And what is to be done about your unnecessary buildup of back-story?

You can a.) put a stint in. (push it aside to make room for the BLOOD to flow) or b.) bypass it all together by taking HEALTHY story veins and using them instead.

Now, let me just say, you have to have back-story in your books. Characters without it are flat, boring and tend to bleed to easily. But... when your back-story is DUMPED in all at one place, it bores readers, and makes them throw down your book and choose a good TV show or movie instead (while they eat their artery clogging steak of course).

Instead, your back-story should flow along with the rest of your plot (blood), sprinkled in when needed but not overwhelmingly so. If ever you have to STOP your plot/story to TELL your back-story, then you have a heart-attack ready to happen.

So, go on, do a little stint or bypass and repair those manuscripts! Get that blood pumping again! And don't forget the Plavix when you're done to keep the buildup from occurring again.

Discussion: Does your manuscript need a stint or a bypass?

Or... am I completely grossing you out with these analogies?? *grin*

11 comments:

Eileen Astels Watson said...

LOL, I'm just in shock at how you tied those together.

I'm thinking some backstory needs a stint and others a bypass. We don't need to know all backstory, but some is definitely good to round the characters and help us understand them and the story line.

Katie Ganshert said...

Love the analogy. And I *think* (stress think) I've got a handle on this back story stuff. I did a pretty good job (I THINK) of weaving the back story through the course of my last novel. We shall see...

carolinestarr said...

Great post! Every manuscript has brought me a different way to deal with backstory. In my mystery, much of the backstory was what my protagonist had to discover, so portions had to be revealed along the way. Have I done it without hitting my reader over the head? That's the question!

Sarah Dawn said...

Popped over from On the Path. Hope you don't mind if I splash around a bit here. Your words are encouraging and to meet writers who are using their syllables for HIs glory.

Blessings from Costa Rica,
Sarah Dawn

T. Anne said...

LOL! My current WIP need both! It's a touch and go situation but I'm staying with it till the end. Prayers for your dad.

Kristen Torres-Toro said...

Hi, Krista!

This post came at a great time for me, as I'm trying to figure out things like back story and characterization and plot and stuff. :0) Thank you!

Still praying for your dad!

Candee Fick said...

Gulp. My name is Candee and I'm a backstory bypass survivor. Beginner mistakes but I cut the first three (yes, three) chapters to get to the real start of the story. Then, I rewrote that new first chapter from a different POV and the story took off.

That book survived the bypass to become a Genesis Finalist.

Jody Hedlund said...

Krista,

You're the one with the analogies this week! Last week it was me and the whole pregnancy thing! But I LOVE analogies. It helps make the writing issues clearer and brings them closer to home.

I definitely put a book down with too much back story. Or too much fluff, description, and info. that doesn't pertain to the plot. As I've read more, I've realized that we need to be so careful about what we add and make sure every detail is necessary or we'll lose our readers.

Tara said...

I love this post. I get a grip on my back story by reading the script aloud. If I've clogged it up, I start to lose interest. So I go into surgery and clean up the arteries.

Terri Tiffany said...

Graet analogy:) I have had to weave in my backstory and it really does work much better that way.
I'm sorry about your Dad!

Kelly H-Y said...

Love your analogy!!! You're so creative!