When you're rewriting/reworking your novel – as I am – and you have jumped to page 38 and started there instead of continuing to allow your novel to begin on page 1 like any sensible person, you need to decide what to do with all the information contained in pages 1-37.
I am deciding this by reference to a list of questions I have asked myself. I jotted them down at the beginning of work on Monday under the inspiring heading 'Questions that need to be progressively answered.'
They emerged in no particular order and I shall quote them in full for your bafflement:
- Who is the saint?
- What has happened to M and what did the saint have to do with it?
- What happened between M and his F and why/how? (I would leave you to guess but, prosaically, F = father)
This last is not a question, just an aide memoire.
Of course, how to do backstory is a question a million writers before me have had to answer. That is, after they've answered the far more important question – is any of this backstory necessary?
It is necessary. Honestly.
And, now I've got M feeding the reader titbits of his backstory instead of laying the whole thing out in one go, there's a lot more scope for the unreliable narrator thing.
I like unreliable narrators.
Or do I?