Everything before the Forestory--or what most people just call the story. This is where Justifications are built and Problems begin. If you want to know why a character is motivated to do what they do, you'll find the answer in here. There is nothing wrong with Backstory--in fact, you kinda need it. But you need a sophisticated way to present it without someone standing there explaining it all.


Casino Royale: Rewinding Your Main Character

Compare the end with the beginning to determine Resolve.

Where your Main Character starts in a story and where he ends up are crucial for an audience to understand the meaning of your story. It is the similarity or difference between the two that defines the Main Character’s growth. The rest of the story must support this growth. Even if you have a great bit of storytelling--if it confuses the Main Character’s growth, you’ve got to throw it out. Leaving it in would be a problem…as it was in the latest Bond film.


Finding the Backstory

While researching resources for developing the backstory of my Main Character, I found a wonderful explanation of the components of narrative in this article on Character Justifications from Melanie Anne Phillips:


How An Inequity--And A Story--Is Made

Human psychology dictates story structure.

Stories reflect the mind’s problem-solving process. The story of how a mind arrives at the point where it requires this process is known as backstory. More than a background history lesson, this pre-story story can also be understood as a process of justification.


When Backstory Is Not Backstory

Writers can determine what is necessary and what isn't by looking to the storyform of their narrative.

Everyone hears that backstory is a crutch. That it slows down the narrative and takes the Audience out of the story. But what about backstory that isn't? How can an Author determine what if their sequences need to be in the story or if they should be cut?


Unearthing The Wound Of Your Main Character

Backstory forces an Author to consider the justifications that motivate the Main Character.

Need to figure out how to create an effective and compelling backstory? Read Melanie's explanation on Justification: