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The Complete Handbook of Novel Writing, 3rd Edition by Writer's Digest Writer's Digest Editors

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Chapter Eight

Weaving In a Seamless Backstory

Creating the Tapestry of Your Character’s Past

Karen Dionne

My first science thriller, Freezing Point, opens with the crew of a fishing trawler braving rough seas off the coast of St. John’s, Newfoundland:

The wind howled around the solitary trawler like an angry god. Inside the wheelhouse, Ben Maki braced himself as an errant wave hit broadside and the trawler listed heavily to starboard. Sleet spattered the windows on the port side. White patches of sea ice told him they were close. The captain grinned—at least, Ben hoped it was a smile; the expression could have been a grimace as it wrapped around an unlit cigar.

Who is Ben Maki? Why is he on this ship? What does he hope to accomplish? Readers won’t ...

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