This entry is part 11 of 13 in the series Story Genius Method - Pillar

Annnddd we’re back

Quick recap: We’re following Lisa Cron’s book STORY GENIUS and applying it to a short story format. We’ve already written the scene in the Google Doc where Roti’s misbelief (read: lie) took root (here’s the link if you don’t have it yet), but now we need(ed) to write three scenes to provide “grist for the mill” (as Lisa calls it) to fuel the conflict leading up to where the story starts. We’re cranking up Roti’s internal heat so that if/when he does something dramatic it’s actually believable to the reader.

Why all the backstory?

Backstory is crucial as it gives the writer (me) some parameters when creating a character, plot, or scene. Without it, characters are ill-defined names and actions…at least, that’s what happens to my characters whenever I don’t do enough planning.

For example…in my short story Something About a Bank Robbery, I did a pretty good job (at least, I think I did) in setting up Terra’s backstory. You knew just enough to get an idea on the kind of girl she was before the story really got off and running. HOWEVER, what that story didn’t have was a plot or story arc.

Character arc? Yes. Story arc? No. Got it? Great!

What this process is doing is it’s simultaneously building both. Not only are we setting up who Roti is, but why his internal conflict is significant and why that matters to the story. What’s cool here is that we’re also implicitly defining Lisa’s third rail, or, the element of the story that works some brain-ninja skills to hook readers (at least, that’s what I’m trying to do here – time will tell to see if it works).

Enough with these words, go read the scene STOLEN FOOD (it’s in the Table of Contents) in the Google Doc! See ya there!

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