This is the tale of two men, a pharmacy, and the real story. Norm (for normal type of guy) walked into a major RX chainstore and as he came into the store he was accosted by Skeezy, a skinny, stringy-haired druggie. Skeezy chased Norm into the store, obviously agitated by something Norm had done. All the witnesses figured Skeezy was hassling Norm. After, all he looked like one of the drug bums that frequent the area (love being on bus line) and Norm looked like your next door neighbor.
Norm said he just wanted to go pick up his meds and told Skeezy to leave him alone. Skeezy backed off, walked outside, still agitated and pacing just outside the door. Instead of going back to the pharmacy, Norm came up and asked if we'd seen what had happened. He said Skeezy accused him of stealing his wife's wallet. Norm pats himself down, "I don't have a wallet. There's no place to hide a wallet." Then he flips open his cell and calls 9-1-1. He tells the operator he was accosted coming into our store and that he has witnesses. He stays in front of the store so we can verify that he didn't have an opportunity to ditch a wallet.
Since I was doing a return, I call my co-manager, briefly fill him in and he goes outside to talk to Skeezy. Skeezy's story was that Norm picks up his meds including Xanax, and sells them for a buck a pill in our parking lot. A few days ago, drug deal gone wrong and Norm stole Skeezy's wife's wallet.
That's what I'm talking about, the story behind the story. That's what we need in our writing. We need to know the story behind the story, maybe even before we start writing or at the very least a quarter into it. We don't need to tell our readers, we just need to know it and how we're going to reveal it on a need to know basis. In my current WIP, my main character just found out his father is an assassin. But believe me, there's a much bigger story behind that story and figuring that one out has shaped the book for me. And now, it's starting to come together. So, my advice to you is find the story behind the story. Dig deep and prosper.