I’ve got an idea for a story!
But I won’t start writing it. Not yet.
There are a few things I have to do before I get to that, like character backstory and setting.
This story will be a middle-grade story, which I have done before, but not in a while. For the two previous middle-grade stories that I wrote, I didn’t create as detailed a backstory as I’m doing now, and that, I now know, was my first big mistake.
I bent the plot to fit an editor’s suggestions in one of those two stories. After a while, the story I’d planned and hoped to tell became almost unrecognizable.
I won’t make that mistake again. I’ll make others; I’m sure of it, but at least not that one.
Once a character becomes generally known, to me, through my exposition, I find that I’m no longer developing their backstory but am discovering it. That the character is, in a way, informing me of occurrences in their past that affected them for good or bad.
This time, I’m also basing the fictional setting of this story on a place I’m familiar with.
I’ve been enjoying visiting the locations for the story’s settings and writing about them through my character’s eyes and ears.
And I’ve been researching things that are important to or will impact the characters. Much like the detailed backstory I’m creating, I won’t use all the information I glean. I hope, though, that it will help to make the story as realistic as possible.
I’ve been learning about interesting things like herbal remedies, foraging, and the particulars of Canadian geese.
Have I piqued your interest?
I hope so.
If I have, then I may be going in the right direction.
Do you have any backstory tips or techniques you’ve found helpful to use?