I’m currently embroiled in the process of editing my novel. I think a lot of new writers, and non writers, underestimate the importance of the editing process... so when you say, “I’m editing”, they think, ‘oh, checking the spelling and punctuation...’
The largest part of this, for me, is concentrating on keeping it active and getting rid of the dreaded back story... Back story is the enemy, and I, my friends, am a rampant spoon feeder. I know, in my head, everything that’s brought them here (my characters, that is). I know the intricacies of how, when, where, what and why... but I’m impatient in the first few drafts and have a tendency to tell you exactly how it works.
Writers hear things such as, ‘show don’t tell’ and think they have it locked if they just eliminate the passive verbs... it helps, but that’s not the only factor. Telling information in an active way is no better than telling it in a non active way... It’s all passive.
So, currently, I’m removing all back story which is moving the story faster, but in spots it’s also hard to do... When I’m done with this revision, I may have to go back and add some foreshadowing to beef up the descriptive passages... it’s also a balance where to drop these little nuggets of information, so that the reader maintains a good understanding of the characters’ motivation...
But here’s my philosophical thought for the day. Back story in a novel is often part of the characters’ history – it’s in their past with respect to this telling. It will also completely stop the movement of your story and take the reader out of the action... Just like your own memories and history can take you out of the motion of life today... Spoon Feeding = bad. In fiction and in life.