I know my main character, but I didn’t know his parents. In every other MG that I’ve written, the parents played so small a role I didn’t need to know much about them. In this one, I’m dealing with events that take place when the MC is really young, so he is affected by choices his parents make. In order for those choices to make sense, I had to get to know them. Most of the information will never show up in the novel, but knowing their back story has sparked the novel in ways I didn’t think possible. Without their story to motivate him, my MC was floating uselessly and making no sense. And believe me, having everything make sense has been exhilarating beyond belief!!
I realize I’m not the first person to discover the importance of back story. But I am curious to know how much it factors in to the planning for other people. How much back story do you develop on your minor characters?