How much of your story contains a character or characters who do a lot of thinking about the situations they find themselves in versus acting on that situation?
For years I did not understand the difference between philosophizing versus storytelling. My characters in my books tend to enjoy thinking a lot. Well, let's be honest, I enjoy thinking a lot and it transfers into the characters in my books. The problem is, although some people enjoy different points of view within a story, I'm not sure they want to read fifty pages of a character's thought before the story begins. Such a beginning can be like trying to enjoy reading a reference book of data versus a really good story.
I have read article after article about authors using too much backstory at the beginning of their books. As an aspiring writer, I made this mistake and hope I have corrected it before publication. I still have this problem, however, of the protagonist thinking too much about his current situation before the actual story begins. Do I integrate these thoughts into the story like I did backstory? If so, do I put the thoughts in the form of flashbacks?
As a reader I understand a flashback here and there, but too many flashbacks make me cringe. Too many flashbacks make me want to yell out, "Get on with the story already!" The other solution is to cut, cut, cut, but with a character that thinks about almost everything constantly, too much cutting reduces the personality of the character for me.
All of this leads back to the question, how much thinking is too much thinking? When is it time to get on with the story and and start showing? In the end I managed to cut the first fifty pages of thought of the protagonist by integrating about twenty-five pages into observations other characters made about the protagonist throughout the story. The other twenty-five pages I am leaving for now.
The lessons I learned from this experience are simple to remember: don't think too much and do more; don't simply tell, show.