Do It Like You’re Dating A Sexy Beast

Writers: No one likes a back-story dump. No one. As a reader, I detest them. As an author, I fear them.  If you open your work with a back story dump, you sink your manuscript. Period. Splash. Sunk. I’ve tried to articulate the problem to writers who do-the-dump and have struggled getting my point across.  The number one argument I get to justify the dump? They *want* the reader to know everything they know. “It helps to set up the story.”

Beep. Beep. Beep. Did you hear that? It was a big back-story dump truck backing up.

Okay, so then I got a great idea for an analogy.

Dating. Everyone knows the dating game scenario. We all get this. Let me know what you think!

My date-a-sexy-beast-scenario.

You (your manuscript) just got picked up by an super-hawt-sexy-beast (agent, editor, reader). You *want* them to learn all about you (your manuscript/characters) but you don’t tell them everything that happened to you after they slide up and buy you one drink (open the document). Right? Am I right? Can you imagine?? You just can NOT do that. And they don’t want you to.

Watch how this turns out:

Pretend I’m having a drink with my girlfriends. A sexy beast saunters up and says “How YOU doin?” (Yeah, I haven’t dated since Friends was on Thursday nights at 8pm. So-not-the-point.)

Anyway the sexy beast asks how I am and instead of giving him a once over, coy smile and tip of the head  (<– breathes on knuckles…I’ve still got the moves baby.) Instead of hooking him and reeling him in over the course of our courtship, (the way writers need to do to readers) I say:

“Well, ya know, I’m not super- great. I ate a crapton of watermelon at a picnic today, and to be honest, I’m feeling pretty bloated. In fact, I had planned to wear a super-sexy island blue mini-dress, but it was so tight across my belly. Can you imagine? No way, so I’m wearing this. It’s cute, but I bought it last year and never wore it because it was too big back then. I was total vegan last summer and never had to worry about the bloat….well…no…that’s not the whole truth. There were still a few days each month when….wait….where are you going?”

Yeah. If I were that chic, I’d get very few *readers* winky-wink, if you know what I mean.

Final words: Trust me, stick with the coy smile, head tilt, smile combination. Invite the reader to get to know you. Give them a chance to want to for heaven’s sakes! And for the love of all that is holy, don’t EVER tell a sexy beast you’re in your fat dress because you’re bloated!

Writing lessons by Julie. ROFL. How did I do?

4 comments to Do It Like You’re Dating A Sexy Beast

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