After a long weekend that included this:
Here I am back behind my desk waiting to wow you with all things related to backstory.
Hey, stop yawning!
Last week we explored the reasons why backstory doesn't work when used in paragraphs or, gasp, entire pages. 1) It slows the story pacing before the story ever gets off the ground and 2) It ain't natural-like.
Okay, so we didn't really explore the second one, but we are today. One of the reasons backstory is frowned upon within the first three chapters is it does not follow the normal learning curve of a relationship.
When you meet someone new, what do you know about them? Right. Nothing. Wouldn't it be odd for this stranger to sit down and begin telling your their entire life story? Most of us would beat it out of there real quick.
In the natural curve of relationships, only after a period of time do you start to pick up on little comments the person makes that hint at a rough upbringing, or a nasty divorce, or whatever. The point is, it takes you a while to realize your new acquaintance has rough edges and/or problems. This is one of the reasons why dropping hints about your character in those first chapters is much more natural than dumping paragraphs of backstory, it reflects how we interrelate with people.
Write your story in this manner. As if the person reading is seeing your character for the first time. Then, through a series of narrative, events, and interactions with other characters, begin revealing your character's problems and the conflicts they will have to face to reach their goal.
Oh, and before I forget, last weeks winner is. . .Amber S. I had to work hard to overlook her tendency toward weird baaaa-rnyard humor, but I persevered and have to admit that I was moo-ved by her in depth answer to my questi-oink. Great Job, girlfriend!
For those of you who didn't win anything but really want another chance. . .try and guess where the sunset picture was taken. If you're happen to nail it, I'll give you Lisa's car. No wait. Just kidding there. What I meant was, I'll give you. . .well. . .directions how to get there? Yeah, that's it!