Saturday, January 23, 2010

BOOK CLUB: Revealing Backstory in Plot (Ch. 17)

[Today we're reading Ch. 17 The Devil is in the Realistic Details of the Plot of Angel Heart, from Aristotle's Poetics for Screenwriters, by Michael Tierno (2002).]

Backstory is all the stuff you really don't need to know right now.

It'a sortof like your best friend is interested in a guy & wants to tell you every teeny, tiny, excruciatingly boring detail.

But if it is an important detail, how do you reveal it?

Answer: By SHOWING (not telling) how the past backstory still impacts the present.

ex. In the movie Angel Heart, X tells the Main Character (with amnesia) to search for Y, not realizing that the Main Character is actually Y. As the Main Character uncovers his backstory, he also realizes that he's Y & must cover it up!

Very clever & important to the plot. I don't mind learning the past b/c it explains who this Main Character is & why X is searching for him.

WHAT I’VE LEARNED: Don't write characters like the yack yack friend.

Write cool characters so that I want to know their past.

[DISCLAIMER: I have not been asked, nor paid, to read or comment on this book.]

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