Backstory. I love a character with a rich backstory. And I don’t need to know all of it. Just some of it. I don’t need every detail explained. I just like knowing its there.
However, some readers not only like to know it all, but it know it at the beginning. To not reveal parts of a character until the end – or not even until books two or three, can draw accusations of an unreliable narrator (I love unreliable narrators) or of hiding the facts from a reader (look at the accusations Agatha Christie got of hiding things from the reader in The Murder of Roger Ackroyd. As a matter of fact, she didn’t. She just cleverly slipped them beneath our notice).
Only one thing is important – that you know the backstory. You don’t need to know all the details. You don’t have to have all the answers. You just have to know that there is a backstory and roughly what it is. Believe me, if you know it, the reader will sense it.
And don’t worry about when or even if you tell it. You’ll know when the right time to tell the story is.
Sent from my iPad