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.
When a character has a mysterious past, the author often withholds the most traumatic or key parts of that backstory until well into the book, sometimes not revealing the heart of the mystery until the climax of the story. In the book you’re reading, when does the author give you the truth about the character’s past, and how did he or she do it? Was it given as a memory or flashback triggered by current events? A confession, perhaps, internal or otherwise? Examine how the author segued into and out of present events to give you the reveal about the past. How much writing space did the big reveal take?
Now using what you’ve learned, decide the best place in your story for your character’s big reveal and the best method for that reveal.