What is Backstory?

What is Backstory

Events that occured before your story begins.

Use backstory to:

  • Reveal important character history
  • Provide context for action
  • Reveal a character’s personality and motivation


“We’ll likely run into a shootout,” John said, touching the scar on his side.

The author subtly uses backstory to avoid explicitly saying, “John bore a scar from a previous shootout.”

Backstory or Flashback?

The current trend favors backstory over flashbacks.


Flashbacks are often accompanied by the cliché of a character dozing off or daydreaming and having to be jarred back to the present after a long recitation of past events.

To avoid that, and the disruption of your story’s flow, layer in backstory as the story evolves.

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