Toni Lynn Cloutier Joins Me

Toni Lynn Cloutier Joins Me

Fabulous The Wild Rose Press writer Toni Lynn Cloutier joins me today on the first step of her year log Blog Tour. I feel honoured to think the jumping off point on this huge undertaking should be on my site. Thanks for joining me and allowing me to help ‘launch’ your tour.

Obviously I haven’t met Toni Lynn face to face but we have common ground which might allow us to rectify this one day. Not only do we share the same publisher but we are priviledged to work with the same lovely editor, Maggie Johnson. Maybe one day “Maggie’s word slingers” will all get together in person. Now wouldn’t that be an encounter to cherish?

Take it away Toni Lynn!

B. S. … It’s not what you’re thinking

 For this Blog post, B. S. means BACK STORY. However, I have found it to have the same definition as to the words that first came to your mind.

Here’s why.

Recently, a woman learned I was a writer and told me she’d written her autobiography and wondered if I’d be interested in reading and critiquing it. Of course I agreed. I LOVE non-fiction!

Little does she know she helped me as a writer!


Her writing was intriguing and the story held my attention. I felt every amount of anger, every tear jerking heartbreak, and enjoyed the laughter when she did. It ended on a positive note and I was thrilled she’d found her happily-ever-after.

Now, she did ask that I critique it and give her my opinion…

Because I initially read the story as a reader, I now went back with my “eagle eye” (as my CP refers to my critiques) and slowly read every word. I found myself continuously writing BACK STORY. I then realized just how often the writer went back, taking up two and three pages of information. During the first reading, I remembered having to turn back to see what the writer’s original topic had been. At the time it didn’t occur to me because I was so engrossed in the subject, so turning back wasn’t a problem.

But now…

Huge problem. As I pressed on, I became tired of writing Back Story so I shortened it to B. S. I knew she would ask what it meant and I would explain, no problem. After reading several chapters and writing B.S. so many times, I thought to myself, “Now I understand why editors ask writers to keep back story to a minimum!”

The more back story that was added, the more I lost track of what the writer was originally talking about. When she picked up where she’d left off, I was lost. I went back to the last paragraph about the present. “Oh yeah, that’s what she was talking about before she drifted into the past, and hooked me once again.”

Being a writer using POV or Deep POV, I know how to incorporate back story so it doesn’t throw the reader back and away from the main topic. I want to keep the story moving forward. But knowing and doing back story so it doesn’t become a bunch of B. S. are two totally different things.

Do you find back story hard to deal with while reading/writing?


Information on Toni Lynn Cloutier for 2013 Blog Tour




Twitter: @ToniLCloutier

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Blurb for “The Patriot Girl” a contemporary romance novel:

MaKayla Adams has always been curious about the wild side of life. Making love with her late husband wasn’t exciting, and she never could understand the big deal…until hunky nightclub owner Dustin James hires her as a public relations consultant. His touch arouses feelings she’s never known, and his kiss tempts her to cross the line between business and pleasure.

Dustin doesn’t remember the car accident that put him in a coma three years ago, but since his recovery, he’s pushed his own needs aside to be a single father to his young daughter. When MaKayla offers to help publicize his country nightclub, however, she ignites deeper feelings he can’t ignore.

But there is more than mutual attraction between MaKayla and Dustin—there is a shared past connected to her husband’s death. Will the truth bring them together or tear them apart?


Excerpt for “The Patriot Girl”

She tilted her head toward his touch. “We do have an unusual chemistry, but anything more between us would complicate things.”

“In what ways?”

“Alex wouldn’t understand. Not to mention Paul’s parents.”

“What about what MaKayla wants?”

A loaded question she didn’t know how to answer. She wanted what she couldn’t have—not to be alone, the noises in her backyard to go away, a husband to spoil, and another child to mother.

“It doesn’t matter what I want. What matters is doing the right thing.”

“For who?”

“For everyone.”

“Even if it means being unhappy? When was the last time you did something for MaKayla without worrying about consequences?” He rolled his tongue and smiled.

“There was liquor involved. Otherwise, I never would have growled at you.”

“Why not?”

She shrugged. “Because it’s inappropriate.”

“A tease?”


He cupped her cheeks between his palms. “I find you sexy as hell and I’m going to kiss you. The time to stop me would be right now.”



Comment or ask a question and you could win an ebook copy of THE PATRIOT GIRL.

The more you follow throughout the year, the more chances you’ll have to win the grand prize.

See my website for more details.


Toni Lynn Cloutier Joins Me — 23 Comments

  1. Hey, Brenda,

    We have to keep Maggie on her toes. Besides, I enjoy reading her of her little comments! You’re so right about how little the reader needs to know and still get the picture and fall in love with the character. Ah, the beauty of revisions. Can you imagine if our books went to print after the first draft!! YIKES.. 🙂

  2. Hey, C. K.

    Thanks for stopping by. There are only so many ways to describe “she walked across the floor.” I find myself getting tired of writing one liners too and then I’ll read my CP’s and with her it just flows. So I think it’s my inner editor with my own work making me think it’s worse than it is. If you are reading this, please leave your contact info in case I pick your name as a winner. Thanks.

  3. Hey, Kim,

    Thanks for stopping by. I’ve tried that color highlight and find it to be too time consuming. However, what I do find VERY helpful is When I place my chapter in there, I find myself reading it as an editor, not a reader. Not sure why. Maybe because the format is different than my own computer and I have to read it slowly because I’ve also thinking of ways to improve it. So I know if I am bored in the process, so will my reader be while reading.

  4. My apologises for delay in “approving” the later comments – time zones! my day is just beginning

  5. Great post, Toni. When I write I have a huge amount of backstory in my head and I’m afraid a lot of it makes it into the first draft–it’s all fascinating stuff that I know the reader NEEDS to know. LOL. Then I think about the vast amounts of red that’ll dominate my manuscript when Maggie sends it back for revision and I start chopping. I think one of the hardest lessons for a writer is how little background the reader needs to understand and enjoy the story. Good luck on your year-long blog tour.

  6. I’m trying to slip it in tiny bits here and there in my current writing. My big thing is I have a step by step thing going. I’m bad about she opened the door, she walked across the floor… and on and on 1 sentence for each little thing. In editing and revising I’m learing to see this and go rip and out it goes. nTeh book does sound entincing and would love to read it.

  7. I love the litmus idea of coloring dialogue back story and narrative different colors. “Intern” did this on Hunger Games and came up with very little backstory and mostly plot driven narrative and dialogue. Turns out when you color the B.S. you can take out chunks everywhere. Then you condense and fit in later, if needed. I’m a huge offender of too much at the beginning!
    Great article Toni. I’m with WRP too!
    Kim Hornsby

  8. Hi, Paula. Thanks for stopping by. Appropriate moments is the key. You don’t want to toss it out there without it “following” a thought. LOL You know what I am talking about!

  9. Hey, Melissa, I love writing deep POV. I never understood POV period until after I read a Pamela Britton novel. It was like something took the book out of my hand and slapped across the face with it and said, “Don’t read it…study it.” And then I got it! What an ah-ha moment!

  10. Katherine, I so understand about wanting the reader to know about your character’s back story. But it is refreshing when you remove it all and drop it in and still know your reader will understand and “get it.”

  11. LOL..Ella…Prologue is another issue for me. If I open a book and the first page is a prologue it goes back on the shelf. However, unless the story sounds good, I know the author, and it is a short prologue. 🙂 Again, see my answer to Amy about my reading. 🙂

  12. Thanks for stopping by, Amy. LOL…I hear you on the snooze button. If you know anything about me, it’s I HATE to read. Pick your jaw up! I know. It’s shocking..I’m a writer who hates to read! It takes a lot to keep my attention. Back story and too much description will have me “hitting the snooze button” as well.

  13. ROFL..Maggie, you are tooooo funny! Thanks for the laugh. But never mind taking my ideas. I need something that will stand out as my own with Rhonda when I take over your job!

  14. Hey, Anne,

    Thanks so much for having me and for kicking off my launch! I just want to remind those who comment to be sure LEAVE A CONTACT so I can add you for the prizes. Otherwise, I will have to skip over you…and I’d HATE to do that.

    Any questions, fire away. I will check in from time to time to answer and questions/comments.

  15. Too much back story, and I tend to hit the snooze button. Likewise long spiels of narrative and exposition. I prefer back story when the author weaves it seamlessly with dialogue, action and introspection.

  16. Hi Toni and Anne,

    When I first started writing I wanted to include every thing that happened to the character probably from the time they were a child. It was important. LOL. Now, of course, I know better. For me, it depends on the story, if I’m so engrossed in what’s happening, I don’t mind a couple of pages of back story, but if the story is already dragging, I tend to lose patience more quickly and set it aside.

  17. I love the premise of this book! So looking forward to reading. I’ve gotten better with writing backstory – it’s the introspection I need to work on. I have found that going deep POV really helps – with that and so many other things! Thanks –

  18. Hey Ladies!

    Thanks for the ‘shout out.’

    And Toni, thanks for another abbreviation for me to put in my comments. And since you are both familiar with my ‘sense of humor,’ you’ll never know whether I mean BackStory or…

  19. HI, Anne – and great post, Toni 🙂 I agree that back story in huge chunks can be confusing and it also takes the reader away from what is happening in the present. It should be ‘drip-fed’ into a story at appropriate moments, and not poured in, especially not in large quantities in a first chapter!