Last weeks Barnyard Backstory 101 post gave you a visual of the reasons a writer should avoid dumping entire paragraphs into the beginning of the book. It ain't pretty.
Backstory within the first chapter slows the pacing of the story. Ideally, you should dole out backstory by raising questions. And one or two well placed questions will pique the curiosity of your reader making them want to continue reading. And isn't that what this is all about?
Since we're not in a rush here, let me give you an example of what I mean. In the first book of a new series of historical romances I'm working on, I needed to let the reader know that my hero's chosen employment as a sheepherder had not been entirely voluntary. Rather than stopping the story to explain the *backstory* that led my hero to the lonely life of sheepherding, I did this:
As always, the silence both soothed and made him restless. He loved the peace of the sheepherder, but hated the isolation. Yet it was the path he had chosen. Had been forced to choose. And he had only himself to blame for it.
What does this paragraph tell you about the man, and what question does it raise?
Person/s posting a comment that is closest to the correct answer will win a copy of my newest historical romance, or one of my two cozies--your choice. I'm all about choices!