Good afternoon readers,
Characters have a terrible habit of not listening. To me, their creator, to their fellow characters, not even to their cat. In Claire Lane, Gracie the obese, grey and white feline, who thinks she is running the household, is the only one who listens. Why? Because, in a way, she is the star of the story. A background, a backstory call it what you will, Gracie knows want is going on between Ralph McGinnis and the little Professor. She sits patiently on the sideboard, in the middle of the grand dining table complete with silver cutlery and plots her revenge. Then when no one is listening to her cries of pitiful woes, she pounces. A mouse would not be safe from this beast. I could write a whole novel about Gracie and her night-time prowling.
This is how a backstory is created. We visualize what our characters are doing or what they have done in the past. I acquaint this with a role on the set of a TV show. All the extras who do all the running around and say nothing. Or just one word. Now that’s what I call a bit part. This is grand if the novel is set in a crowded place, for example, the city or a busy department store. But, when you get two characters in a room who want to yell at each other, it's easy to lose track of time and space. Days may pass, but they have not moved.
I have wrongfully assumed no one received the memo. You can move around the room. When I push the ‘pause off’ button, the conversation continues, the characters move, drink a glass of wine, stab a significant portion of blue cheese and stuff it into their mouths, chewing noisily.
In the background, Gracie sits and watches. She doesn’t move. Doesn't say anything. Watches and observes. If I haven’t been so amiss, I might have given her a speaking part. When you sense the elephant in the room, be still and listen because it’s a possibility the extras in the scene have arrived