Most people have an overwhelming fascination for the lives of others, what we have in common with them, how we are different, their trajectories, how they start, how they finish, the balance of their strengths and weakness, the way they suffer, succeed or fail.  Every other person is in some way a version of ourselves being played out in an alternative universe.  When we watch others, we are witnessing ourselves.  When we write about people, therefore, fictional or real, it makes sense to give the reader some idea of who they are beyond simply the functional information required for the plot to move forward.  This is the backstory; information about the lives of people before their existence within the timeframe of the narrative itself.  We’ve used a number of devices to do this.  Perhaps the most innovative is the use of a monologue at the beginning of each chapter where the information we provide is not strictly relevant to understanding any of the storylines but to give an insight into the nature of the protagonist which the reader will carry along with them when they encounter that character.  We have done this even with minor characters such a Leon and ‘Paul’.  Other approaches include highlighting the routines and relationships in a character’s life that stretch back to before the narrative, flashbacks, information provided by other characters, such as by Marie to Giuseppe when discussing Casanova’s acquaintance with Stefano (see above), or when characters reveal biographical information about themselves directly to another character.

‘Casanova in Paris: The Shadows of the King’ is freely available here.

Long form articles on Casanova’s life and times are freely available here.


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