Side Stories: Love 'Em or Hate 'Em?

I know I've talked about Character Haunting before on here, which leads me to this post. In my second novel Realm of Desire, I have a bit of a side story about a teenager and her dad ... The point is, this character is fascinating me. I want to know more about her. I want to explore her story further, but there is no room for it in the novel. I know I can write more about her later. Maybe a whole other novel where she is the MC would work. Who knows?

What I want to know from you (the writer/reader) is do side stories enhance or distract? Or, does it depend on how it's written?

I've seen side stories work if they are somehow tied to the main plot. My side story is tied to a character's relative, so hopefully it works. BUT I've also seen side stories not work (at least not for me). An example that most of you might be familiar with is in the Twilight series. When the writer went on and on about the Indian history about werewolves. You know, the part where they are sitting around the fire? I think it's in the third book. I must admit, while I enjoyed the series, I hated that side-story so much that I skipped a few pages. I certainly don't want readers to get bored and skip through any of the pages in my book.

What are your thoughts? Do they work for you or not?

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