This comes from Robert J. Ray’s The Weekend Novelist Rewrites the Novel: A Step-by-Step Guide to Perfecting Your Work.
Basically Ray talks about the writer thinking about what their protagonist (or any character) was doing in concrete parcels of time before the story began. Examples Ray uses are: “A week, “a month”, “five minutes”, “the morning/evening before”, “10 years ago”.
Some of my additions:
-who was the last person they slept with?
-what did they eat for breakfast and how is it sitting with them?
-did they get a good night’s sleep last night?
-how do they take their coffee?
-did they hear a new song earlier and love it?
I could go on forever. Well, at least for a while…so that, as “they” say, will be that.
Happy Friznay, let’s eat some swiznay.