Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Character Backgrounds

I have been called (on occasion) the “Queen of Character Backgrounds”.

It’s a joke, but it is still true. I love character bios. I love listening to a character in my head telling me their backstory; they tell me in great detail all of their great deeds and misfortunes. I think I have more character bios on my computer than I do stories to put them in. No, scratch that: I don’t think this, I know this.

Every character, be them a main character, a minor character or a bit character has a full bio on my computer. I like to know what makes all of them tick, why they act the way they do, why they have a place in this story. No one is there as filler or fluff. I’m rather meticulous about it; maybe that is why my story is unfinished as of right now, because I am still listening to the back stories.

I’m sure that this is wasted time for most people, if a character is a bit character, a minor player than the effort is time and energy better spent on the main part of the story, but not for me.  Nothing is more frustrating for me than reading a story and being able to tell that the author has no idea why this minor character is doing what he does, I’m not saying that every character needs to have three chapters devoted to backstory, but you can tell when love and care is put into the smallest of characters.

So as December comes to an end and a new year is on the cusp of beginning I am going to focus on keeping my characters well rounded and knowing full well the how’s and why’s of their personality.  I don’t want to write something and have no idea what my characters would say or do in that situation.  So even if it may be a waste of time I will continue with my extensive character bios, it’s just how I roll. And to take a lesson from +Alexandra Webb , research will be a key focus of mine as well. Be it story research, character research, or the final stage of marketing research, all stages are equally important.

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