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Thoughts on backstory...

In my present work-in-progress, I was writing myself into a corner with the main character of present times. (The story is set in a near-future, "present times," and is composed of two story lines. One is that one, and one is how we got there.) Then I realized that the reader may want to know how he became the way he is: selfish, addicted, as resourceful as Mad Max. I'm about a third-way or so into a chapter that tells his tragic backstory, and it's working fairly well.

I considered a novel and a film, both which I believe are incredible, but as usual, the novel was far, far better. Thomas Harris created some insane evil in the character Jaime Gumb, aka Buffalo Bill, in his novel SILENCE OF THE LAMBS. Though screenwriter Ted Tally and director Jonathan Demme did admirable, Oscar-winning work, they failed to do something Thomas Harris perfected in his original work. Namely, what led Buffalo Bill to become the monster he was when Clarice Starling raced against time to hunt him down?

I think it's important to reveal that kind of backstory to your audience. We readers and movie viewers know that in real life no one is born with the evil or compassion they demonstrate by their adult behaviors. Hitler is easy to hate, but the fact is that he was not born hating Jews, gays, communists, or anyone else. Knowing more about him allows us to understand how it was POSSIBLE for him to become the racist monster whom we know. I am not in any way stating that we need to sympathize. But we are capable of understanding. Thomas Harris knew that and respected us with the full story. Hollywood neither understands nor respects, so we don't get the full story.

I have attempted that with each killer in THE McCONNELL CRIME SAGA, but I nearly dropped the ball in my "pre-dystopian" work-in-progress. I saved myself, and future readers, during another inner-dialogue during a walk with the dogs.

Enough for this post...Now back to viewing more World Cup action!

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