Next Week's Show -- Character Backgrounds

So +JJ Lanza gave us the inspiration this week for talking about Character Backgrounds. To help round out the topic I have two questions for you to answer. Feel free to answer one, the other, or both.

One: What are good elements (events, NPCs, history, motivation, etc) to include into a Character Background?

Two: What are your best tips, as a Player, for making a usable background for a game?

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