Character Backstory

Everybody has a past, and our past has shaped us.  Our parents, our friends, our culture have made their mark. Of course, everyone responds differently to what surrounds them. Some flourish under pressure, some crack. Some are resentful, some are grateful. Some forgive, others don’t. How has your character become who she is today? How was she raised? Did she accept authority or rebel? Was life easy or difficult? Did she work hard in school? What did she do in her spare time when she was ten years old? Who were her friends? What inspired her? Your reader doesn’t need to know everything about … [Read more...]

Character Building


Note: When writing here about characters, when the gender isn’t specific, I won’t use the awkward phrase “him or her” or constantly repeat “the character.”  I’ll use the female gender, but please know that I’m referring to either male or female. Character Building My favorite job as a writer is creating characters. I need to know and understand them and what goes on inside their heads, so I can make them authentic and memorable. Many elements go into creating a rounded character. I generally start writing the first draft, not knowing a lot about my protagonist. I put her in a situation and … [Read more...]

Character Response

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A reader learns about a character in several ways: what the character says, what others say about her, and how she behaves in various situations. No two characters will react the same way to any given situation. First, write a description of two characters. What are their backstories? (See previous prompt.) What do they want? What is most important to them? Put each character in a similar situation. How does each respond? Here’s the situation: Your character is eating lunch with a friend. The server brings their food, but she makes a mistake. Your character’s friend becomes angry and loudly … [Read more...]