Tuesday, November 8, 2016

S Is For Sprinkles

Jennifer talks about leaving clues...

When you think of your writing, think of it like ice cream. Any flavor will do—of course, I prefer chocolate, but you’re free to be wrong ;)—because for this lesson, the ice cream is less important than the topping. Specifically, sprinkles.

If your ice cream represents your plot, the sprinkles represent the clues you want to give the reader throughout your story. Those clues could be backstory, hints at motivation, actual clues to a mystery or even evidence of your character arc.

The point is, you want them distributed throughout your story—like sprinkles on ice cream—rather than clumped or bunched in one place.

In my current WIP, my hero was formerly addicted to painkillers. He solved his problem on his own, which means he doesn’t really understand what addiction is. Now, he confuses addiction to drugs with his desire to be with the heroine. Because he never wants to be addicted to anything again, he breaks up with the heroine and it isn’t until he gets help for his former addiction that he learns the difference. In order to show all of this believably, I have to sprinkle in throughout the story examples of how he cuts himself off from anything he becomes too attached to—whether it’s a favorite food, an activity or ultimately, the heroine. If I don’t, the reader won’t understand and won’t see the pattern.

So what about you? Do you just sprinkle backstory or are there other things you sprinkle throughout your book?


  1. I try to sprinkle backstory throughout the story.
    I was just shown that I revealed the villain early in my romantic suspense WIP. I sprinkled a clue right off the bat. Gotta watch what I sprinkle.

    1. Yep, it's a delicate balance and we're often too close to the story to be able to judge what's a giveaway and what's not.

  2. I sprinkle in clues - and sometimes red herrings!

  3. I love this analogy...although now I want some ice cream...vanilla or strawberry for me! :)

    Backstory definitely gets sprinkles, but also hints about a character and what might happen in the future can get sprinkled too.

    And if it's a mystery, lots of clues get sprinkled so the reader can solve along with us.

  4. a great way of explaining clues, backstory and character traits