Topic A: The Plot
Categories: Brainstorming, World building, Story Set-up
Topic B: The Characters
Categories: Initial Creation, Background, Complexity
Topic C: The Writing
Categories: The Vital First Chapter, Your Inner Editor, Writers Block
Character background is one of my favorite things about creating characters. Just like with people, your characters’ past is what creates their inclinations, their views, and their demeanor.
I think one of the best things about character background is that you can go so in-depth, make it so rich. It’s a God-like act, really, creating life and playing around with it in this way. You’re using beings of your own creation (on paper, but still) and using them to tell a story.
Your character’s past consists of many parts. I like to separate them into three.
This is mainly what people think of when they consider the past, the events that make it up. After all, time is a measure of things that happen- which is what events are. Big events in your characters life (as well as small ones) add up to create the person/creature they are in the point of their life you’re writing.
The emotions created from said events must be different from the other characters in your story. Your character-in-designing must have their own unique take on the world. He/she must have unique reactions, just as we do.
This is how your character acts. The decisions they have made and are still making strongly affect who they are, and that’s what your reader wants to know. You want to create one who they’d want to follow.
These three aspects combine to create a living, breathing character (so to speak). Remember, your characters past doesn’t have to affect their present-selves only mentally, but physically as well. Does he/she have a limp? Why? How about a necklace they never take off? Where did they get it? Why is it so important to them?
I’m not saying you have to write them a memoir, but definitely put some thought into it. The deeper you go (without getting distracted, of course) the more life-like your character will seem.