~ Ok, so let's not call it writer's block, because it's really not that. But I am finding it a bit challenging to populate my latest novel (Lies That Bind) with proper backstory without making it blatantly obvious that I'm doing so. As a reader, I find this to a be a fine line, and as a writer, I'm being (probably overly) careful not to do the latter. If you have no clue of what I'm babbling on about here, think of it like this: Have you ever read a book (or watched a movie) where the characters openly review past events for no apparent reason except to make sure the audience understands? Sometimes it's even in the way they speak to each other. Maybe it's the cartel drug lords all speaking English when the room is full of Columbians (fellow nerds: think Klingons doing the same), or maybe it's a characters' internal monologue (that's the voice that a character uses to speak to themselves) explaining to themselves things that they would already know. The worst is when a room full of main characters make references to past events in detail, as if they need to make sure you're up to speed. You know, in case you missed the last movie or didn't read the first book. It's in all kinds of stories, and it has always bugged me.
This is called "exposition" and if done properly, it works well. In my (admittedly less than humble) opinion, it very often does not. While I can think of more bad examples that good ones, one exceptional example of providing exposition without being boring was the Mr. DNA cartoon character from the Jurassic Park movie (during the first part of the tour that the main characters were on). It gave all the backstory we needed, without making it boring or obvious. This wasn't in the original novel, and it allowed the movie to move faster without have to deep-dive into all of the science behind the plot. So, while I'm making progress on my own novel, I'm also scheduling an intervention with my editor and/or my proof readers. Obviously, I'm very passionate about this next story and I want to get it right. It's a great story, if I do say so myself, and it wants to be told in the best possible way. Until next time, keep reading! (and writing). Cheers!