1. PsychoFreaX
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    PsychoFreaX New Member

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    How would you write the backgrounds for these characters archetypes?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by PsychoFreaX, Mar 2, 2010.

    1- Already an adult but still behaves too naive, hyperactive and immature like an 8 year old

    2-The guy who gets mad and complains any time something doesn't go his way

    3-The cross dressing guy. Personality is mainly friendly playful and likes confusing people

    4-The guy who has melodramatic reactions in just about any situations
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    WHY would you write the backgrounds for ANY characters, much less archetypes?

    Then you would have to write the back story for the backstory, and so on.

    Just write the story.
     
  3. PsychoFreaX
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    PsychoFreaX New Member

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    To enhance reader and character connection?

    And even if you don't put it in the story, all characters need backgrounds.
     
  4. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    You can assume your characters have backgrounds; the same as you assume the person you just met at the bus stop has a background.

    Write stories, not backstories.
     
  5. cboatsman
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    cboatsman Senior Member

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    Pretty much what Cogito said. Further more, supporting some kind of background information, why ask what to write in the background? It's your story and your character(s) so only you really know what their background is.

    Just my 2 cents.

    Caleb
     
  6. Evil Flamingo
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    Evil Flamingo Contributing Member Contributor

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    Your story, your world, your people, and your God. We are tools at your disposal, not the creating force behind your work. And I hate archetypes by the way. Characters are people, not two dimensional cut outs to slap on a sheet.
     
  7. PsychoFreaX
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    PsychoFreaX New Member

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    How about if I rephraze it to "how would you come up with backgrounds for these types of characters?" would that make much more sense?
     
  8. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    Try to think more about how your characters' personality and conflicts drive the main engine of your story line.
    P.S. you are the only one who knows the background of your characters, because you are the one deciding what is going to happen in your story...
     
  9. Tamsin
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    Tamsin Senior Member

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    I think it would help if you focused on who these people are, rather than how they behave. Characters shouldn't just be two-dimensional i.e. the one who always makes a joke, the one who always cries... (unless you are writing an episode of Friends!). If you start with who they are and what situation they are in, that should determine their behaviour, rather than thinking about their behaviour first.

    I also don't worry about the background of a character unless I am actually going to write about it directly (i.e. include a scene or memory from their childhood or past). If I tried to come up with a backstory for every character then I would never actually get around to writing!

    If you must, maybe start with sketching out a rough character by focusing on age, family, job, appearance, etc. or by asking a series of questions (what is their favourite memory? what relationship did they have with their family? etc) but seriously I would only focus on significant things that are going to be necessary in the story. If you find you need some kind of explanation for their behaviour as you write, then just develop it as you go along. If you know too much about a character to start off with then it's tempting to tell the reader too much at the beginning.

    Archetypes only present you with problems as you are drawing on stereotype/cliche/tired characters rather than coming up with something new, so you run the risk of writing a tired/overdone story.

    Good luck :)
     
  10. Gallowglass
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    Gallowglass Contributing Member Contributor

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    I wouldn't. I'd get a bit of info about them - school, birthplace, home life, etc. And then I'd write the story, and see what is required. When it's necessary, I write it in.
     
  11. thewordsmith
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    thewordsmith Contributing Member Contributor

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    Again, the real question is "Why?"

    These are your characters. We have no way of knowing where they came from or where they are going. We have no vested interest in them or their histories. So how we would approach them would be completely worthless to you.
     
  12. Anonym
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    Anonym Contributing Member

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    1,2 & 4 sound like ppl ive known who've been too coddled thru their lives. Momma's boys, trust-fund babies n all.

    Cross-dressing can mean all kinds of things depending on the context. one of my friends is straight as an arrow but cross-dresses pretty regularly just to wierd ppl out. then ofcourse there are the more orthodox examples, transexuals n the like. i can't think of a life-context that would dispose someone to that or being interested in confusion ppl n all tho. unorthodox role models? idk

    i do agree w/ the prohibition against overly detailed n constricting backstories, ect, tho i'm not above levitically musing over potential interesting facets of a chrctr's past. as long as i don't end up pidgeon holing my creations
     
  13. B-Gas
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    B-Gas Contributing Member

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    Archetypes are like boxes. Characters are like watermelons. You can grow a watermelon inside a box, and it'll be just about exactly the size of the box. It'll fit perfectly. Or you can grow the watermelon wild, which will make it huge and full and rounded.

    Here's the thing. The box-grown watermelon is really easy to use, really handy. It stacks well, it chops well. The wild-grown watermelon is big and cumbersome. You can fit the wild-grown into the box if you cut it down a way. But you can't pretend that the box-grown is big and full and round. It isn't. It's just that box.

    Characters should get sorted into archetypes after the story is finished, not before.
     
  14. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    An archetype is the general shape of the shadow cast by your character. Your character has color, detail, and dimension that is not represented in the shadow.

    Don't write to perfect the shadow. Write the individual character. He or she may indeed have a background. You don't need to know it to write the NOW character, and the NOW character is where your focus should be.

    Because you don't keed to know te background, don't write it.

    As you write the story, hints of a backstory will begin to emerge. Just keep track of them. As they accumulate, they will begin to affect how your character acts as you move forward.

    Let the story shape your character. Don't try to constrain every detail from the beginning. So what's the worst that can happen? If you define your character's background too thoroughly from the beginning, you may find you've plotted yourself into a corner!

    Keep your characters loose and flexible, and they will be that much more realistic.
     

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