Welcome to Day 2 of the A to Z Challenge
Many bloggers have chosen a theme for the A to Z. My pledge since becoming a blogger is to post about writing, so for this event, I will being posting about what I've learned about writing a novel.
B is for backstory: the literary device of a narrative history and set of facts and factors all chronologically earlier than, and related to, a narrative of primary interest. Generally, it is the history of characters or other elements that underlie the situation existing at the main narrative's start. (Wikipedia)
Generally speaking, readers do not need a bunch of backstory to understand who the characters are and why they are in the opening scenes. Readers are content to wait a long time to learn the characters’ background as long as they are continuously dealing with a disturbance. The trick to adding backstory is to drop it in in small doses and only when the need to know arises, and it must be dropped in actively. There must be tension in backstory and should be used to bridge the conflict. But make no mistake, backstory is necessary, so the reader can bond with the characters emotionally, to understand why they are doing what they are doing.
In my novel, I have two instances where backstory is vital. I use dialogue as a way for the characters to hash out their past mistakes while also bringing to light their relevant histories.
Have you found it necessary to use much backstory in your novels?