on Jami Gold:
One aspect of writing craft that can be hard for newer writers to grasp is the importance of context. We hear about showing vs. telling or “writing tight” or leaving things in subtext, but the truth is that most writing elements don’t work if readers don’t have the context to understand what the elements mean.
Showing needs context to be powerful. Sharp dialogue filled with subtext can be just confusing or meaningless without context. We don’t know whether a line like — “What do you want?” — should be taken as threatening or pleading without information about the situation, motivations, emotions, or tone of voice. The same goes for many other elements of writing craft.
Context is why we usually need to include backstory for our characters. Backstory helps readers connect to our characters and provides context for their motivations, beliefs, and fears.
I’ve talked before about how to find the right balance of backstory, but just because we can get a good idea of when we need to include backstory doesn’t mean we know how to avoid boring backstory information dumps. So Kris Kennedy will be sharing how to craft must-read backstory through 5 guest posts over the next few weeks.
Please welcome Kris Kennedy!