One of my critique partners (also an editor for a different epublisher) pointed out that--in her opinion--the entire first chapter of my current w.i.p. is backstory. (If you heard a primal scream earlier this morning, that was me. Sorry.)
Ah, backstory. Sometimes it sits there out in the open, being itself: a bunch of information setting the stage, introducing the characters and maybe even explaining why they're there and what they're doing. Sometimes it gives you the main character's history.
Sometimes, backstory's disguised as a prologue.
This is a frequent problem with manuscripts I see; the story could easily begin (with more impact) on page ten, but the author has decided this other stuff is just as important and needs to be said. The thing is, the reader wants to be dropped into the middle of the action; poorly written backstory could make them close the book (or click off the sample chapter).
This is A Very Bad Thing.
I'm not sure what this bit o'backstory is doing. Not much, apparently, because as Joyce said, "I'm just waiting for something to happen." The thing is--in my opinion--things are happening. Just...not much. I think it's being sneaky--pretending to have something going on...or...not? I'm too on-top of it to tell. So I thought I'd ask you.
If you look at the tab labelled Love You to Death (which should be above, if I formatted things correctly), you can read my opening chapter. What do you think? Backstory? Not backstory? Tell me why--or why not? Would you read on or close the book?