• Style,  Writing

    How to Handle Backstory in Fiction

    You. Must. Cut. Your. Backstory. How many times have you heard this? Plenty, I bet. Along with “show, don’t tell”, it’s one of the first things a writer learns. But it can be difficult to know how to handle backstory. You’re probably thinking that if you cut your character’s backstory, the reader won’t understand why your character behaves in a certain way and they’ll probably end up very confused. And you’d be right! But problems arise when you don’t know how to handle backstory. New writers tend to present it to the reader using exposition, one of those pesky writing tools we need to learn to use effectively or risk disengaging our readers. If you…

  • Style,  Writing

    3 Reasons to Show Before You Tell

    ‘Show, don’t tell.’ I know you’ve heard it before. It’s one of the first things a writer learns, the cardinal rule, the greatest commandment bestowed on us by the writing gods. So why have I titled this post: 3 Reasons to Show Before You Tell? Because there are times when it is acceptable for a writer to tell and not show. We’ll start to explore that in the next episode of this five-part series of Showing and Telling Made Easy. For now, it’s imperative to know what it means to show and tell in fiction, and why it’s a skill every writer needs to master. So, what does it mean to show and tell? Telling…