For one of my characters, I plan to reveal part of his backstory in a different book. How can I do that and let the reader know it is him, even though the names are different (he goes by a nickname in the book he is the star of).
How do I reveal a character's backstory in a different book, even though the story is completely different from the other?
@GuyWhoExists You can make a chapter in the new story informing your readers that he (The name in the first story) and this (the nickname in the second story) are one and the same person. You can also add something like “As this is a part of his backstory, he’ll be going by(this new name) in the new story.”
You give the reader clues to connect the characters. The same/similar appearance. The same mannerisms. They have first-hand knowledge of the other book’s events, know things only that character would know.
If you’re trying to connect these two books and I assume they’re not sequels but a character has a name in one and a nickname in another, the only way you’ll be able to connect the two is by mentioning one of those in the other, or else nobody could make the connection, or you would have to reveal the backstory in both so people could connect that way. That’s about it.
You could also technically never reveal but just make sure the descriptions, physically and mentally, of the characters is nearly identical. That is asking more of the audience and they may not get it even then but you can do it.
Lois Lowry did this in her Giver series.
First book has a protagonist named Jonas who has unusually light eyes. At the end of the book he either dies or finds a nice place to live.
Second book features an entirely new cast of characters. They also find a nice village to live at the end of the book, and one character refers to a boy from that village with unusually blue eyes.
Third book makes it more obvious even though this character goes by a new name now, IIRC they mention his old name explicitly so everyone who has read all the books knows it’s the same character.
The fourth book explicitly explains everything.