April 05, 2012

Toon Thursday: You, Too, Can Be a Fiction Writer!

Toon Thursday is back with a brand-new cartoon today, and you will surely be thrilled to know that I have updated the Toon Thursday Archives, too (which, if you haven't looked, is an exhaustive list of every Toon Thursday I've ever posted). As always, click the cartoon to view larger.

Yes. Well. Viking fathers, orange mothers, and pastry chef infamy aside, this could actually BE a fun way to brainstorm character ideas if you're really stuck. Why not, really? I often feel like I'm just picking ideas at random anyway--at least, for the parts of the backstory that don't immediately follow from what I already know about the character. ("Hmm...I've always wanted to visit Moscow. Let's make this character from...Moscow, Idaho! And, uh, I like lizards. When she was kid she had a pet lizard! Who died tragically in a...uh...I don't know! Earthquake! Volcano! Flood! COLLAPSED BURROW!")

Any and all REAL backstory tips to share, please feel free to leave them in the comments.


Anonymous said...

I feel like I'd read a book about a notorious pastry chef.

Jennifer R. Hubbard said...

In The Secret Year, there's a scene where the MC's new girlfriend explores his room. Several of the things in his room also happen to be in my writing office. This could be viewed in two ways:
--the laziest method ever of finding backstory;
--a way of ensuring that you will know the character and the objects really well, even if the objects turn out to mean something different to the character than they do to you.

Sarah Stevenson said...

Jenn: I love that. I do it, too--not necessarily stuff in my writing office, but definitely plenty of items from my house turn up in my books.