What is it? Backstory is anything that happens before the actual story takes place.
Characters think and feel and know things, but where does it all come from? What shapes their opinions and reactions? It's events and circumstances that take place before the story starts.
Often it's necessary to clue the reader in on some of these details to make it easier to understand and/or identify with the character. The temptation is to plop all the information down right away so the reader knows what's going on. Don't do it.
What you should do is dot bits and pieces of backstory throughout your manuscript.
Instead of saying Jane Doe is sad because her mother is dead, you can weave in this backstory in dribs and drabs.
Such as, when Jane Doe is looking at her garden, she can sigh and think something like If only Mom were here to enjoy the flowers. She did so love geraniums.
At some other point in the novel, Jane Doe can be watching TV and the news program will be about a fatal car crash victim. Jane will think something like, First Mom, now this poor soul. When will people learn not to drink and drive?
Another way to weave in backstory is through conversation, but again be careful not to spill the beans and tell it all right away.
John Doe comes home early and sees his wife staring wanly out the window at the flower garden. He comes up to her and says, "Jane, why so sad?"
"They remind me so much of Mom. She so loved her geraniums."
"She loved you more. She wouldn't want you to be miserable that she's gone. "
You get the idea. Let the reader go on a discovery journey and want to read more and more to find out what happened before and what will happen next.
Let the journey begin!
Experience the diversity & versatility of Morgan Mandel. Romantic Comedies: Her Handyman & its sequel, A Perfect Angel, or the standalone reality show romance: Girl of My Dreams. Thriller: Forever Young: Blessing or Curse. & its Collection Sequel: the Blessing or Curse Collection. Romantic suspense: Killer Career. Mystery: Two Wrongs. Twitter:@MorganMandel Websites: Morgan Mandel.Com & Morgan Does Chick Lit.Com.