Unless you’re starting from the beginning of time, or at least the beginning of your world’s time, there will always be events that happened before your story begins. Some of these might influence the way the story develops, some might just be a passing reference in conversation. Some you might have come up with just because it sounded interesting and you’ve yet to do anything more with it.
I originally decided that House Valerius and its sequels would be written in the first person since that’s what seemed to come most naturally to the story. At the same time though, I knew it was going to limit me in certain ways. Given Ash’s relatively young age (27 at the beginning of the series), there was obviously a lot of history that would have to be left out, if I wanted to avoid lengthy passages of history for the sake of history. To be honest, there are probably still a few places in House Valerius that could stand some trimming for this.
Despite this, some of the stories of the past that came to me as I went along refused to leave, taking up space in my head. I had characters who were always at each other’s throats, I had a good idea why but I couldn’t find a way to organically include it in Ash’s story even though he’d encounter the effects of their antagonism. The solution seemed to be simple. I could continue the series as originally intended and include some short pieces to supplement the books, exploring the side stories.
To date, I’ve completed three out of the seven stories that I originally had ideas and I find myself wondering if it might be time to revisit some, while I’m struggling with House in Exile. Maybe going into the past of my world for a time will help me think about its future.