I’m between two-thirds to three-quarters of my way through the first draft of Rise of the Sun King, and I’ve run into the dreaded backstory infodump. I put it off as long as I could—partially in an effort to build a modicum of suspense around what it might reveal—but I’m having a hard time making it seem interesting, even to myself.
There’s no mistake the backstory related is necessary—the readers need to know some of the how and why the world is the way it is. In this case, knowledge of the failure of the past will point the way to future success for my characters, so the information is crucial.
I’ve heard it said many times—and repeated it often enough to my children—that the number one rule of successful writing is butt in chair. I think the number two rule might just be (said in the voice of Dori from Finding Nemo), “Just keep writing. Just keep writing.”
I’m learning to give myself permission to write crap first drafts. Turning off the internal editor is hard, especially so when he’s joined by a chorus of voices echoing the numerous writer/agent blogs I read on a daily basis.
Make no mistake, I don’t intend this malaise to daunt me. I know the problems I see now can be fixed in future rounds of revision. I foresee trimming the last two chapters I’ve written and condensing them down into a single, tightly focused chapter with the mass of a gas giant. The reader will be inexorably drawn into the chapter’s orbit and slingshotted around to the novel’s climax.
That’s the plan anyway…