Today I opened On Writing to page 229...
The most important things to remember about back story are that (a) everyone has a history and (b) most of it isn't very interesting. Stick to the parts that are, and don't get carried away with the rest. Long life stories are best received in bars, and only then an hour or so before closing time, and if you are buying.Back story can help create 3-demensional characters and help to brighten the colors on the canvas of your literary masterpiece, but it doesn't propel the story forward. Make sure the back story is important and relevant to the primary story.
- page 229, Stephen King's On Writing
In my second book, I wrote a large chuck of back story that reveals a major insight into who one of the main characters is and why she acts the way she does. To make the story flow faster, I took this chuck of back story, broke it up into small bite-size pieces, and sprinkled it throughout the book. I think--I hope--it will ultimately be an effective device in keeping readers' interest and pique their curiosity.
Don't forget to visit me at Tossing It Out on Friday for my hijack of a guest post and big Book 2 reveal. Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to get back to writing. I'm so close to finishing my WIP!