October 20 – 23, 2022

Pasadena, CA

Character Through Backstory: Why Backstory Is the Spine of Your Story and How to Use It to Make Your Story Stand Tall

Despite the fact that some of our favorite stories, past and present, are heavy on backstory, in recent years backstory has gained a bad reputation. This has to do with how the backstory is communicated to the reader (backstory dump, anyone?) rather than with the backstory itself. But, there can be no story without backstory. Characters are a product of their childhoods and pasts, and the best plots are set into motion way before a story starts. Thinning out backstory can cause a story to lose its soul and result in the kind of characters editors and agents ‘like but don’t love’ and readers easily forget.

Learn from classics and bestsellers how backstory, when done right, is the key to infusing your story with emotion and making it impossible to put down.