I’ve already written earlier that despite the prevailing opinion about flashbacks (or backstory) slowing a story down, I like them. Today, however, I couldn’t help but agree with this view. First, because I intend to produce a page-turner, but the backstory in Ch. 5 is way too long. Secondly, it belongs to a minor character, albeit an important one, so it definitely slows down the events that involve the protagonists. Should I cut it out and be done with it?
That’s what I thought.
Then I read from Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass again, and this is what he says: “A novel’s texture is generally much richer when there are multiple connections between characters. …nodes of connection can be built in backstory. … Interwoven character relationships almost create plot complications all by themselves.” (188)
Exactly. The backstory in Ch. 5 may not be very essential to the plot, but it certainly is essential to Nick’s growth and Kate’s better understanding the country she’s visiting.
So no way could I get rid of this scene. Besides, I remembered how much I had enjoyed writing it. (Hence its length.) So, gritting my teeth, I started shrinking the scene until I cut it by half. Done! At least for now. 🙂