|See also:||Pastfic, Futurefic, Story Tropes|
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Backstory is a term used to describe all the plot and character details that make up a character that occurred before the main timeline of the work. In original media, backstory is often revealed in flashback scenes or in entire episodes of TV series devoted to pre-canon events.
In fanworks, backstory is often invented by the fan to flesh out characters that may have been too minor to be fully explored in canon, or deliberately left mysterious by the original creators. Fanfiction exploring backstory is sometimes pastfic or it may be that the backstory is used to flesh out characterization or plot in a canon setting.
Backstory from canon can be used in AUs to add a sense of familiarity to the characters who have been taken out of their usual milieu, or can become so commonly used as a motivating device in stories that it comes to seem almost like fanon. In SGA fanworks, Rodney McKay's run-in with a heartless piano teacher, a moment mentioned in passing in the SG1 episode, Redemption, part 2,  led to many stories focused around his thwarted musical talent, both canon and AU.
A very common trope in fanworks is to create backstories of childhood trauma or abuse to explain canon character behaviour. (insert good example here)
- Episode Transcript, accessed April 20, 2010