How much to tell

If you produce one book, you will have done something wonderful in your life.  —  Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis

 And so now we come to the second book in the Lynton Series. Starting Francesca’s Foundlings is proving to be more challenging than I thought it would.  I have the characters: Franny, Brid, Sofia, Neil and Brendan but what to do with them?

“Don’t you work from an outline?” I hear you asking in a somewhat shocked tone.  What you get in response is a hedged answer, “I want to, I should.” If I am really cornered, “Sister told me to.”  Writers fall into two categories, structured and intuitive, according to Walter Mosley in This Year You Write Your Novel.  A structured writer knows the whole story before she begins to write it. The intuitive writer puts the characters in motion and follows them through the pages, scribbling madly in their wake.  The downside of this is that you have days when you just stare at the computer monitor without a clue as to what you should write. (If you had the outline you would at least know what you should be writing.)  But the upside is, your characters can and will surprise you and drag you places that you never intended them to go.

The questions plaguing me this morning is how much about MacCullough’s Women (also known as backstory) does the reader need to know and how quickly should I reveal it to them?

One thought on “How much to tell

  1. Thanks, Beth. I have been doing some research on this and one way to do it is to drop the information into dialogue. This helps to keep the story moving forward and not backwards. I agree with you about the long lists of “who’s who” in the front of the book. I find it confusing, too.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *