7. Backstory.

7 Tips for Writing Crime Fiction

by Dana Stabenow

(written for Writer’s Digest)

7. Backstory. Every single character gets one, including the guy who shows up once to deliver the mail. It can be as little as a sentence or as much as a subplot running through the entire narrative. The supporting cast is what makes a great book and what gives a series long legs.

Coda: This is going to sound self-evident, but lately I have read far too many novels in which I cannot find a single character to like, to identify with, to root for. Have at least one person in your book whom the reader can cheer on. If you don’t, you might not lose anyone else but for sure you’ll lose me.


Read the rest at Writer’s Digest.

Chatter Random Friday Uncategorized Writing

Dana View All →

Author and founder of Storyknife.org.

2 Comments Leave a comment

  1. You said: “Have at least one person in your book whom the reader can cheer on. If you don’t, you might not lose anyone else but for sure you’ll lose me.” And lose not only you. That is one of my primary criteria for deciding to quit a book — is there no one that I care what happens to, no one I want to spend any more time with. Too many other options to waste time with people I don’t care about.

  2. Sooooo true, I always hated it and felt quite guilty toward the author if I did have to give up on a book for those very reasons and over the years I’ve ploughed through a few just to say I gave it a good chance, but not now. Second after discovering a brilliant new author is that I can simply read their books over and over always discovering something new! So thank you Dana for being one of those brill authors.

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