Background ideas need not be amazing. The unusual flows out of the ordinary, and in the process gains meaning, context, and depth. Start with the ordinary, and the miraculous will follow.
For instance, is the investigator in love? Betrothed? Married? Are there children? Lost Loves? Where there tragedies?
What schools were attended? What friendships formed?
Did the investigator have military experience? When? Where? What happened? Who were friends? Where medals earned or mentions made in dispatches?
Who are the investigator’s family? What is their origin? Gradually come to know fathers, mothers, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, ect… living or dead.
What is the investigator like? A little time spent going over the investigator sheet can yield insights. Comb the characteristics and skills for hints and contradictions. Is she or he quiet, rowdy, lustry, stuffy, respectable, brilliant, erratic, mystical, charitable, money-grubbing, short, dark, tall, pale, good-looking, ugly, plain, dowdy, elegant, punctilious, frenzied, chivalric, nervous, intellectual, brawny, muscle-bound, vigorous, mousy, courteous, impulsive, excitable, foolish, bald, bearded, thin, crippled, hairy, sleek, or something entirely different? As you find the world to express your ideas, write them down on the back of the investigator sheet.