Your Story Needs A Back Story – Visible Back Story

A visible back story is the major events that take place that will manipulate your entire plot. Understanding what they are may be more challenging. Throughout your back story there will be at least three or four occasions that would have taken place in your character’s history that will manifest within the movie’s plot. It should only emerge if it has any actual relevance to the plot in any way.

For example in Bridesmaids; Kristin Wiig’s character had a failed bakery and the failure caused her to close herself off and chipped away at her confidence. When the business closed she was forced to work in a job she didn’t even like and she felt desperate to have deeper connections within her relationships with men. She drew inspiration to bake again after she met a police officer and her rediscovery of her passion becomes the main theme in their relationship. When she faced major conflicts later on that plunged her to hell, her baking was her salvation.

What about in Taken; we discover that Liam Neeson was an appalling husband and father. He neglected his family which let to his wife being fed up and estranged from him and had an affair with someone else then leaving him and taking their daughter with her. He then has this strong need to win his daughter back so he can fix that relationship. We cheered him on because of the bond he created when he tried to save her after she was abducted.

What you need to remember is that even though your character may be someone rich with an amassed collection of fine art but if the collection never really sways the plot in any significant way then it is not a visible back story.

Successful back stories are those that are only mentioned if they are relevant to the plot or if it’s a character arc. Otherwise keep it invisible and do well to remember that.

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