For our September “Learn to Write by Reading” challenge, we invited you to examine books that had characters with mysterious backstories. Now, apply what you learned to your own manuscript.
Find the place where the author first really piqued your interest with a hint about the character’s past. How far into the story was it? What kind of hint did the author give you, and how explicitly was it written? Was it just one sentence buried in the rush of current events, or did the author spend more time on it? Did the hint come through dialogue, internal thought or a triggered memory? Or did another character drop the clue? Did the author give the character some physical manifestation–a scar, limp, a unique mannerism or affectation as a tangible manifestation of past trauma, or are the character’s scars all emotional?
Now using the book you read as a guide, look over the early sections of your own story for places where you can drop hints about your character’s past.