Welcome to this week’s blog hop. Today the topic is:
‘What is your best technique for working around backstory dumps?’
Working around backstory dumps depends on how long you’ve been in the writing business. When I first started out back in 2013 I just dumped information there and then onto the page. Not good. I was lucky enough to win a free edit in a competition and the editor soon picked out the info dump and let me know about it. I was told in no uncertain terms that nobody wants information overload, and that it’s best to blend it into the story as you go along.
A year or so on from that embarrassing incident I started to put backstory information into conversations instead, when I was brave enough to start writing dialogue. I was also aware by then that it’s best to let the reader discover/imagine things for themselves rather than having too much written in black and white in front of them.
These days, tempting as it is, I try not to explain too much and weave the minimum amount of backstory possible into a conversation or let it be discovered by the reader as they continue through the story. No way would I ever now dump it all in one place and run!
I’ll add an info dump I managed to put into a conversation that Lyn and husband Neil have in ‘No Sex Please, I’m Menopausal!’. It’s the fourth book I wrote, and so probably now I’d stretch all the info out a bit so that it covers more pages, but people still find it funny so I’ll leave it as it is:
Excerpt from No Sex Please, I’m Menopausal! by Stevie Turner
“Sorry, but it’s still the same as when I told you the last time and the time before that. It’s too painful, and I haven’t got a vagina anymore!” Lyn Fuller sighed as she removed her husband’s wandering hand. “Can’t you just accept it?”
From a clear vantage point between his wife’s legs, Neil Fuller let out an expletive as he risked a quick second glance.
“Yes you have, I can see one!” His finger pointed directly towards the object of the dispute.
“It’s for exit purposes only.”
“No, that’s the other end.”
“Well, can’t you stick something up there to help?” He took another glimpse; his erection deflating rapidly as he spoke.
“Wild yam is supposed to do the trick if you can’t take HRT.”
“Eh? You’ve got to stick a yam up there?” Neil looked quizzically at the size of the introitus on display, mentally comparing it to the dimensions of the root vegetable.
“Wild yam cream, dickhead.” She rolled her eyes.
“What good would that do?” He exhaled forcefully.
“I’ve no idea, but what else would you suggest?”
“How the fuck do I know? Ask the Quack for some bombers or something?”
“You mean pessaries?”
Lyn felt the mattress give a little creak of protestation as her husband flopped down onto the pillow.
“What am I supposed to do then? Tie a knot in it?”
“You know I don’t want to take HRT. Pessaries are also full of oestrogen, and you chucked away the KY, so if the wild yam cream’s no good then we’re stuffed.”
“Or not, as the case may be.” Neil had a sudden enlightening thought. “Marlon Brando used butter in ‘Last Tango in Paris.”
“Well I wouldn’t fancy spreading it on my bread after you’ve dipped your willy in it, and Maria Schneider shot him at the end anyway, so it didn’t do him any good in the long run.” Lyn closed her eyes and wished his obsession with sex would go away. “And no, you’re not sticking it in there either. Yeah, I saw that film too.”
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