Genesis 5020

Stories for His Glory

Review and Giveaway: Focused Backstory by Carol Alwood January 1, 2020

Filed under: Book Reviews,Uncategorized — Melissa Finnegan @ 2:35 pm
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About the Book

Book: Focused Backstory
Author: Carol Alwood
Genre: Non-fiction, writing resource
Release Date: June 26, 2019

Learn how to write characters readers will love.
Has an industry professional told you not to dump character history at the beginning of your story? If so, you aren’t alone. But what’s the solution to this common advice? Most writers take the time to design interesting characters with troubled pasts. They long for readers to care about the characters’ lives. However, the sad truth is on page one, readers don’t care—yet. That’s why industry gurus tell writers to stop overusing character history, also called backstory, at the beginning of stories. Have you ever wondered… How to use backstory correctly? What are the ways other writers successfully incorporate backstory into their work? Do tools exist to help writers better plan stories so the backstory isn’t such a problem? In Focused Backstory: The Key to Writing Deep Character Journeys, you’ll find answers to these questions and more. You’ll learn how to avoid the dreaded info-dump and instead, harness curiosity so readers keep turning pages. This resource breaks down focused backstory into simple pieces to use flexibly in any story no matter what genre or length. Worksheets, tables, questionnaires, and templates will help you plan an engaging story with deep characters. Examples from popular stories will help you understand this method.
You’ll learn how to
• design a character around a troubled past.
• create additional characters around the main character.
• weave interesting sub-plots within a characters’ journey toward healing.
• design proper obstacles which interfere with characters’ goals.
• guide readers’ emotions so they have a satisfying reading experience.
No matter what kind of writer you are, if you take the time to analyze the use of backstory, it will enhance your style. Focused Backstory: The Key to Writing Deep Character Journeys is the missing gadget in your writing tool kit.
Click here to get your copy.

About the Author


Carol Alwood has an unending passion for fiction, and she can’t think of a better way to spend her life than writing books for young adults and teaching about techniques she has learned along the way. With a Master of Education, experience as a content editor, and over a decade of establishing and working with critique groups, she is an excellent resource. An award-winning author, Carol finds joy in helping writers find the right tools to plan, draft and revise their novels so they can achieve excellence in storytelling.

More from Carol

Focused Backstory resulted from a personal quest to please industry critics who suggested I keep character history out of the first pages of my novels. My initial questions to this advice were: What? Why? I searched for resources to figure out how to write a more powerful beginning without relying on the past but found little help. On a mission to find answers, I studied popular books, television and movies to abstract what made stories work and — boom! I found it! We can break down backstory into simple pieces to use flexibly in any story without compromising artistry. This book provides definitions, examples, worksheets, templates, and comics to help writers study the art of using powerful character histories to keep readers turning pages. I’m so excited to offer this resource and hope it will empower your writing as it has mine.

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, December 28
Holly Jo Morris, December 28
janicesbookreviews, December 29
CarpeDiem, December 29
Jacquelyn Lynn, December 29
For the Love of Literature, December 30
Mary Hake, December 30
Blogging With Carol, December 31
All-of-a-kind Mom, December 31
Genesis 5020, January 1
April Hayman, Author, January 1
Pause for Tales, January 1
Through the Fire Blogs, January 2
A Modern Day Fairy Tale, January 2
Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, January 3
Emily Yager, January 3
Remembrancy, January 4
Stephanie’s Life of Determination, January 4
A Reader’s Brain, January 5
Spoken from the Heart, January 5
Sara Jane Jacobs, January 5
Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, January 6
Godly Book Reviews, January 6
Blossoms and Blessings, January 7
With a Joyful Noise, January 7
Inklings and notions, January 8
Stories Where Hope and Quirky Meet, January 8
A Diva’s Heart, January 8
Artistic Nobody, January 9
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, January 9
Hebrews 12 Endurance, January 9
Texas Book-aholic, January 10
Stories By Gina, January 10




To celebrate her tour, Carol is giving away the grand prize of a $25 Amazon gift card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

My thoughts:

If you are a writer or want to be, this book will get your creativity flowing. I really need to be reading more books on the craft because, honestly, I haven’t worked on anything in a very long time. Reading something like this forces me to start thinking about my characters and gets me excited to get back at it.

This is a really great resource for anyone who is in the writing craft, wants to be or just starting out. There are tons of charts and worksheets to go through. This will definitely be a book I keep on hand and refer to with each book I write (when I write them).  See, I’m being positive!

If you struggle with how to work in backstory (which is really the backbone of most books) this is a must read.

Grab your copy at Amazon, Barnes and Noble or your favorite retailer.

A copy of this book was given to me through the Celebrate Lit Team. All opinions are my own.. 



8 Responses to “Review and Giveaway: Focused Backstory by Carol Alwood”

  1. Scott Earl Says:

    Sounds like a good resource for my creative writing class. My students front load instinctively. It is also something I will put on my personal list. My focus word for 2020 is “create.” I am committed to being more intentional with my own writing. Thanks for sharing this review.

  2. Rita Wray Says:

    Sounds like a good book.

  3. Emma Says:

    This sounds like a book my daughter could use. She’s written several novels.

  4. Melissa W Says:

    Looks very practical!

  5. Peggy Says:

    The link to the giveaway does not work. Thank you.

  6. James Robert Says:

    Thank you for sharing your book with us and for the giveaway as well. I appreciate them both.

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