Margaret talks about writing back stories
Back story is an essential in almost all novels, something that happened weeks or months or even years before the story begins. Something that tells the reader a little bit about the hero/heroine’s character, but not too much all at once. To be effective it needs to be fed in gradually, usually through dialogue or each character’s thoughts.
I develop complete back stories for my two main characters before I begin to write, then add and improve as I go. It’s amazing how their identities begin to emerge - until they eventually become real people in my mind. Real live people whose story I’m telling!
I don’t use every tiny detail that I’ve written down. Back story is simply an aid, put in where necessary as a flashback in the character’s mind, or in dialogue. Of the two options I find dialogue works better because the reader becomes more involved.
And of course everything needs to be woven in seamlessly so that the reader doesn’t see it as pure back story, simply an interesting and necessary part of the book. I actually find it equally as interesting delving in to what’s gone on before I ‘met’ my characters as I do writing about them.