Writing Backstory: When Your Character is a Liar
Just this morning I discovered I have to revisit the drawing board for one of my characters. The antagonist in my novel has a colorful enough “real” history already in my planning– but she’s a pathological liar.
What I had overlooked, until reviewing my newly installed Timeline, was the need to build her “fictitious” liar’s backstory. Her life’s story was tough — abuse, drugs, gangs, prison– but the lie, the story she tells others to blend in, is another matter. And because SHE believes it to be real, it has to be crafted as though it was. A bunch of random lies told here and there to throw people off won’t work.
I have a new found appreciation of what causes writers to often appear distracted. My first novel’s draft taught me how difficult building a whole world can be. But I’m now being blown away at the level of discipline –and close brushes with insanity – that’s required of anyone attempting to craft a mystery/suspense thriller. WOW! Here’s hoping it’s just temporary…
As I go about my job, paying bills, cooking dinner, driving and so on, I’m playing over the stories of my characters in my head. Trying to make sure they are believable and interesting. Now I have to work with my antagonist, the pathological liar, and she is extremely bright and well organized – so I guess I’ll have to just pretend to be that too, as I muddle through today!