My name is Alica and I am a back story whore, there I said it! Wow it feels good to finally confess that. I love back story, all of my characters have rich full back stories and my critique partners carry dull, rusty, blood soaked knives with them when we get together in order to get rid of it.
I have gotten better as we have grown into a strong trusted group, but sometimes I still dig my heels into and refuse to give up my little darlings. Which according to Kristen Lamb I need to recognize and kill.
So why am I confessing this to all you fine upstanding people? Because I have taken Phoenix Child down to do some major editing and revising. When I got the proof copy for the paper version of Phoenix Child I found some mistakes I wanted to fix, I swear I find new mistakes ever time I look at my work in a different format.
Anyway, it suddenly dawned on me that in my first book was Star Wars Episode One, not the same plot or anything but so much back story and bringing in characters that don’t move the whole story forward, that I really needed to do something.
My critique partners had told me before I published that I had two books and should separate the group home story from the magical phoenix story. I pouted, cried, and choose not to. Well now I am doing it. I will write the group home story eventually, but for now I’m going to focus on the magical phoenix story as I have book 2 Legacy of the Feathered Serpent already written and book 3 outlined.
I am choosing to separate the two stories because while writing book 3 I realized that the strong group home relationships really didn’t have a place in what was currently happening. Not everyone is voyeuristic enough to want to read about characters checking their facebook pages for updates on previous characters.
I am speaking at a writing convention in March so I am hoping to have the book revised and all the blood mopped up by then. I will make sure Kindle readers get notified of the update, which you can download for free. If you bought it on Smashwords keep an eye on my blog I’ll announce the re-release and offer a coupon code for a free copy 🙂
I hope for those of you who enjoyed Phoenix Child in all it’s back story glory will also enjoy the newer faster paced version. And for those who found my book’s pace too slow or there was too much going on perhaps you’ll give it another try.
Either way thanks to all of you for your support. I have learned so much and while of course I wish I could write and instantly publish a perfect book, I am not ashamed to say I am learning more all the time and doing my best to constantly improve myself and my work.
My new motto for my critique group: I may pout but I may not doubt.
I feel your pain. I had a lot – A LOT – of backstory in Hainted, which my editor had me take out. I didn’t whine aloud since I make it policy not to argue with my editor, but a single dramatic tear might have slipped down my cheek when I hit the delete key. 😉
I try very hard not to argue with my editor, one of the good yet bad things about self-pubbing is I get final say LOL Someone needs to make special tissues for writers who cry as they cut their favorite scenes
My first two books were originally one book. It is difficult writing a series, because you are faced with the decision of a having a fast-paced, though somewhat shallow story, or one that builds slowly, and is richer. I don’t think there is a “right” answer. We all feel our way through it.
What I’ve learned the most, from reading, and from the editing process, is to start the story as far into it as you can, and let the back story fill in later. I’ve got chastised by readers who say they want to figure it out on their own, and not have me tell them everything.
OMG- yes I have started and re-started book one so many times! It really should have been my ‘throw-away started novel’ but I love it so much and had a whole series bobbing around in my head. So I have just been hacking away at it. I hope I’m leaving in enough to keep it rich, but not bogged down or slow paced. Of course no matter what I do there will still be people who hate it, but at some point I’m going to just have to let that be.
Haterz gotta hate.
I admire your dedication to your story that you’d edit and revise it after all you’ve already put into it! I do like backstory but understand that it can drag a story down. I mean, I love The Lord of the Rings and there is all kinds of backstory in that book!
Honestly, you just can’t please everyone. I’m sure it’s a fine line to walk between too much back story and a story that is superficial. I don’t typically like books that are all about action and nothing about character development. I need information about characters so that I can care about them. I remember reading a YA book that was all action. Within half a page the action started and it never let up. I didn’t care about the kids in the story at all, because I didn’t know enough about them to care. It was the first book in a series and when I realized that I didn’t care if these characters lived or died, I didn’t continue on with the series.
Good luck! I hope you find that backstory sweetspot, and when you do please let us all know. 🙂
LOL- being a backstory whore my saving grace is a great critique group who can help me thin it out and find places to put it back in. At this point it is much less about back story as two stories. So all the relationships in the group home have to go- and my critique parents will be making me write that story separately.
Kudos to you for recognizing what you need to do and having the courage and work ethic to do it. Good luck! It might be painful but it will be worth it.
Thank you! The most difficult part has been re-learning my character. She has changed without those deep group home relationships and I’m a bit confused as to who she is now. But I keep plugging away at it. 🙂
Ah, backstory…. You are not alone! I cut 30K from my book–all backstory and world building. I think I’m still mopping up the gore from that. Good for you for wielding the knife, er, pen. Thanks for sharing!
LOL- it can be a very messy processes especially when I start crying- and I am not a pretty crier at all.