A few chapters in my main character's sidekick (and cousin) gets a girlfriend (Susie). They've both been players in the past, and are working at a committed relationship. Now I'm working on some back story that will shape her subplot.
It's set in 1979 in a steel mill town in a valley near Pittsburgh, that like others in the region has seen a downturn in the economy and has many kids wanting to leave as soon as they can.
Eventually she and the MC become good friends along with some sexual tension (his girlfriend says, "She would do you in an instant") I wanted to have this friendship established to set up some events near the end of the story.
One of these is when she finds herself pregnant and ask the MC for advice on what to do. I thought I could complicate her situation by having her father losing his job, in one way or another, and facing relocation out of the area. Following her family could destroy her relationship with her boyfriend, and there's only five months until high school graduation.
For her backstory, I want to know which of the following you find more interesting and compelling -
1. I've been inspired by a guy who grew up two blocks up the street from me, a few years earlier. His future wife went to high school with my dad. He went to work in the mills straight out of high school, but attended college in the evenings to get a degree in the technical aspects. He got into management and was transferred out of town, and became the first person in the company's history to become a general manager of a plant and later company president after starting as a common laborer.
In the scene I've started writing, I pictured Susie's dad having that role, as a mid-level manager, upper middle class, who's being offered a higher position, but in another city. That may be revealed later, but for now she's skipping out on Sunday afternoon at the country club, as those fake pricks don't even like her father as he's not one of them.
2. Or, the other day I read Salena Zito's piece on the demise of the steel workers. I could also make Susie's dad a solidly middle class guy who may have worked his way up to supervisor, but now faces layoffs and may have to leave town just to stay employed.
I don't yet see either choice having a major impact on which direction her subplot goes. It's more to add some depth and social commentary, perhaps sharing some local history.
PS One of the reasons #2 interests me is that I earlier had compared my premise to that of "The Last Picture Show" (which I should re-watch sometime)