I can’t take it. I just cannot take it!
Why does every critically acclaimed book that I read start with backstory? Pages and pages of backstory!
I’m finally reading Gone Girl and the first four pages have been spent reminiscing and setting up the characters. I recently read The Tiger’s Wife, and the beginning (like most of the book) focused on the past.
Don’t misunderstand me. I loved The Tiger’s Wife. I’m enjoying Gone Girl. I have no problem with well-done backstory. I’d be glad to follow suit and include some in my opening scenes, except that writers are told to avoid doing so at all costs.
I’m sure there are several answers. First, there is a fine line between well-done and over-done backstory, and I bet that most authors have no idea where that line is. Second is that phenomenon where well-published authors can do whatever the heck they want while the rest of us have to play by the rules.
But for the love of God, help us out, Gillian Flynn! Lend a hand, Tea Obreht – and all of you other rule-breaking golden children. Will someone high up please stop it with the backstory and give us newbies examples that we’re actually allowed to follow?