Thursday, 6 January 2011

Trying to find the balance

Right now in my edits of Sundown chapter 2 (yes, I am stuck on chapter 2...which used to be about chapter 7, before the current editing revolution began) I'm struggling with finding a balance between giving enough information and giving too much. Naturally it's okay to give information if you're showing it, but even then there's only so much backstory you are supposed to pack in, especially to the first main chapter of your novel (which this one is).

To give some idea of where I'm at, these are some of the dramatic changes that have taken place since I joined AW and started sharing my stuff:
  1. Instead of my heroine meeting her hero on page 57 or so, which is what happened in my draft (at least, in the proof copy I just received :D), she meets him on page 9 (size 11 font, Times New Roman. hehe)
  2. Instead of a word count of 128k or so, I have a word count of 113,362
Okay, there are other things that have changed, but those are the major ones I can think of. Pretty major, in my opinion. Anyway, because of all the backstory I've hacked out, I now have the dilemma I mentioned above. I have thrown the reader right into the action, but there hasn't been enough build-up to make them care about it.

I'm working on it, and I'm very grateful to the advice I've received at AW. I do think this is going to make the story much stronger overall. But yeah, it's a struggle striking that right balance.

What a learning process!

Meanwhile, I wrote a quick little ghost story today. You can find it here. Titled "Lost, Then Found". It's definitely not my most special writing, but I like the story itself. At first I was going to have Ralph turn out to be a psycho killer seeking revenge. But then I thought better of that idea. Or different, at least. Some might say the psycho killer twist would've been better. And why the heck was the mother even at the school? Honestly, I'm not much bothered with the answer there. Suspend reality a little, I say!


  1. it's always difficult to know what's too much backstory and what's enough. I think if you weave it in through the story then generally it's ok. It's when we throw it all in like an info dump, that it becomes a distraction to the story.

  2. I agree about weaving backstory through your novel. However, I really like books that throw the reader right into the thick of it, too. It truly is a balance and it will come with practice.

  3. Yeah, the plan was for weaving it through, but you have to have enough up front to get the reader to care that your heroine meets her hero. :P I think I'm getting there with this particular chapter.


Thanks for your words, me hearties! and don't forget to leave a link to your blog somewhere I can find it!