Friday, May 05, 2006

Happy Cinco de Mayo

Hey everyone! Grab a bottle of Corona and lift a toast to Mexico on their day of Independence. What? Oh that’s right. Today isn’t Mexico’s Independence Day. That’s September 16th. Cinco de Mayo celebrates the Battle of Puebla where 4,000 of the Mexican army defeated 8,000 men of the French army on May 5, 1862.

Tomorrow, lift a glass of Mint Julep and watch the greatest two minutes in sports as the 132nd Kentucky Derby is run at Churchill Downs. I watch this race every year. I pour over the records of all the horses entered. I study their pedigrees and jockeys, but before I place any bet, I find out the back story for each horse. Because ultimately that is what makes me decide which horse to bet on. This year’s field has so many interesting stories.

Brother Derek, sure to be the early morning line favorite, is undefeated this year. He’s an impressive colt. He’s trained by Dan Hendricks who was paralyzed in a motocross accident two years ago and is still trying to deal with the lost of the use of his limbs. Or there’s Barbaro, another undefeated colt. His trainer is Michael Matz. Matz saved two young children when the plane they were all flying in crashed. He’s an Olympic gold medal winning equestrian in show jumping. He carried the American flag in the closing ceremonies for the Atlanta Olympics. This is his first horse in the Derby.

The stories are endless and each just as touching as the next, but there will always be one that touches my heart deep enough to bring tears to my eyes. Now you’re wondering what is my point?

Well, my point is this..without back story and back ground information, this is just a race and Cinco de Mayo is just another holiday. It’s the background we learn that makes them important to us. It’s the same with any story we read. I can write a story about a couple who meet, fall in love and live happily ever after, but without any understanding of where they came from and what has happened in their lives leading up to the meeting, why should you as a reader care about them?

So I’m wondering just how much back story do you like to get from the author? Do you want to know everything that happened to the couple before they meet up? Or are just a few glimpses mixed into the on-going story good enough for you?

Tell me your opinions.




Blogger Bonnie Dee said...

I'm a fan of the back story--a lot of it. The psychology of characters is very important to me. Two bodies crashing together without a reason other than lust doesn't interest me that much.

11:29 AM  
Blogger T.A.Chase said...

Bonnie and Tiffany,

You're right. Back story keeps the characters from seeming flat and uninteresting. I love back stories and how they've shaped the people into men and women we can love.

Real people never seem interesting until you find out about their lives.

12:19 PM  
Blogger Jennifer Y. said...

I like back story and seeing what brought the characters to where they are. It makes it more interesting and usually gives me a reason to care about the characters and what is happening.

12:57 PM  
Blogger Tiffany Aaron said...


I can tell by your stories that the reason behind the characters' actions are most important to you. Which is why your writing is so good.

2:00 PM  
Blogger Tiffany Aaron said...


I people-watch all the time and in unique moments..when I get to talk to the people I'm watching, the stories I've made up aren't nearly as interesting as their own life stories. :)

2:01 PM  
Blogger Tiffany Aaron said...


Most important thing about any story is making the reader care about the characters. Why read it if you don't have a vested interest in the hero or heroine?

good point.

2:02 PM  
Blogger Estella said...

Back story is important to get me interested in a story. I need to be aquainted with the characters to really get into the story.

3:10 PM  
Blogger Tiffany Aaron said...


I'm the same way especially if the hero's a bad boy. I want to know what made him that way.

3:27 PM  
Blogger Pam P. said...

I agree, the back story lets you know the characters and understand what motivates them today, especially in the case of those bad boys.

3:53 PM  
Blogger Shara Lanel said...

Feliz Cinco de Mayo! Margaritas all round :-) Really wishing I could go down to Brown's Island tonight and catch some of that salsa music, but with FL & RT only a week away, can't spend the time or $.

Backstory is usually what I discover when I'm writing my first draft, then have to weave in better during revisions.


4:50 PM  
Blogger Tiffany Aaron said...

Pam P,

bad boys need to have good back stories or they just end up not having enough of a good reason to be bad. :)

6:47 PM  
Blogger Tiffany Aaron said...


You're right. First drafts are for learning about the characters and their motives. Then the second or final draft is weaving those motives into the present story.

Salsa music sounds like fun. :)

6:48 PM  

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