Today's topic is backstory. Friend or Foe, I'd like to know. Okay, just kidding. Sorry for the bad rhyme.
But really, backstory is one of those necessary tools that really gets abused. You, the writer, should know it like you know your life.
You, the reader, should learn bits and pieces and maybe never know it all.
It's a fine line on which a writer balances. Backstory (the character's past) should be sprinkled nicely throughout the story, not loaded in the front. Too much, you lose the reader. Too little, you lose the reader.
Eek, it's work, but backstory done well makes a character come alive to the reader. It gives them depth and motivation.
I've heard someone compare backstory to salt. I hope you get the idea. :-)