Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Backstory Problems, and a Giveaway Promo

I've been reading through my world-building notes the last few days. There are 18 pages typed, plus a stack of notes on scrap that I'm working on digitizing, plus what will amount to 5 or so more pages of world-building notes to fill in various plot and motivation holes that have come to my attention.*

This is a lot of information.

Obviously, there's no way I can or should put all of it into the novel. I also know I need to put more of the world-building into the novel, because even though the characters know this stuff and act accordingly, the readers are left out in a few places.

I think I'm doing okay with the most important bits—the societal backstory, and the technology. Not perfect, but okay. There are a couple paragraph-long "speeches" about history and a lot of references within dialogue and narration, and, in terms of technology, I just have to describe it. But there are clunky places in the "history" passages, and especially in the "current society" passages, which are largely delivered via "person listening to the news while eating/driving". Um. Yes. Dealing with that.**

I'm more worried about the minor things, and not out of any kind of attachment to what I've created. The sections I wrote about medicine and cinema and the changes in the 5 continents that don't appear in the book—they don't factor into the novel at all. There's backstory to the existence or prevalence of some of the technology and cultural habits, too, but neither narrator would think to explain it—if they even know what the backstory is.

Should I try to include some of that anyway, to give a bigger picture of how the world's changed, or should I leave that out for now, in lieu of the planned theoretical sequels? I know how much info is going to be too much info, but I don't know how much is too little. Does anyone have suggestions?

In other news, Shannon Whitney Messenger is giving away books. Including Pegasus and Matched, which I've been hearing marvelous things about, and a YA paranormal by Kathy Reichs which I didn't even know existed, omg.*** There are about a million ways to enter, but I don't recommend that you do, because that means less competition for me. ;) (But no, really, go enter because she'll love entrants, I'm sure of it.)

* Argh.
** That said, suggestions are welcome.
*** What, I like her.


Hannah said...

I tend to lean on the side of leaving info out. I like having a lot of questions when I read sci-fi. I'm awful at doing that though - I always want to answer everything. But I think it's better not to explain things unless you need them, to keep more sense of strangeness in the world. I hope that helps...I'm not convinced it exactly answers the question you were asking!

Word verification is "syfav" which reminds me of "SyFy" and seems very appropriate. :-)

Anassa said...

Thanks, Hannah. You answer helps, because it supports my normal inclinations. I think trying to piece things together from snippets of information is part of the fun of sci-fi, fantasy, and related genres. I've just started to doubt myself recently, is all. ;-)