Fellow Writers: The Thing about Backstories

When you are developing characters for your story you need to know them inside and out. What is their favorite color? What is their favorite food? Do they like video games? If not, why? What is their biggest fear—logical or not? What is their goal in life? What was their fondest childhood memory? Who are their parents? Were they nice and sweet, or were they mean and abusive?

Your characters—every last one of them—have backstories. Their backstories are going to determine their present and future actions and reactions. It’s extremely vital that you, the writer, know your characters well.

Now you’re thinking, “How am I supposed to remember all of that information? I have so many characters!”

Two words: Character Profiles.

Create character profiles, one for each individual character. In your character profiles, you should have a physical qualities section and a short backstory—AT LEAST. Take note, though, the more detailed your character profiles are, the more realistic your characters will be when you write them into your story.

And now you’re thinking, “But I already started my story. Does this mean I have to start all over?”

You will be surprised how helpful they can be while writing!

As a side note, there WILL be things about your characters that you will know that no one else will ever know. Why? Because you won’t NEED all of this information in your story. It’s good to know all of this information though, because believe it or not it affects your character’s decisions.

Here is a list of a few questions you can ask while creating your character profiles:
• What is their first, middle, and last name?
• Were they named after someone of importance?
• Where are they from?
• What is their favorite color? Why?
• What is their least favorite color? Why?
• What is their favorite time of the year? Least favorite?
• Do they prefer cold weather or hotter weather?
• Do they like long hair or short hair, light hair or dark hair (on others)?
• What is their best physical feature?
• What physical feature do they not like about themselves? (If not anything, you have a character I like a lot.)
• What are their qualities (not physical)? Good or bad? (Ex: Clumsy; awkward in crowds; quiet; pristine; loud; over-zealous).
• What are all of their physical features? (Eyes, hair, nose, face shape, height, weight, muscle tone, complexion, etc.)

Are there any questions you can think up to add to this list? Share them in comments!

I hope this helped some of you with the development of your characters and staying consistent. It’s extremely important to be consistent in a story. If there isn’t consistency, then the story is disappointing to the reader. It no longer feels like an escape to another world/life. It isn’t real, and readers want to feel like it can be real.

If you guys are interested in reading more of my writing tips, tell me what to write about. Or if you want to hear my opinion on something (keep in mind I might say no), ask me questions. And stay updated by subscribing to my blog!

Have a great day!

God Bless,

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2 Comments

  1. I am not nearly so organized as you. I prefer exploring characters as I plot/draft, then going and brushing everything up in editing. But then, no one can accuse menof being a structured individual.

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    Reply

    1. Ahahaha! 😛

      Not everyone follows such a structured approach to characters/plot, and that’s okay! What works for me will not work for you. What works for you might not work for some other writer.

      I think I’m going to write my next Fellow Writers blog post on that! Yes? 😉

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      Reply

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