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  1. Holo
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    Holo Senior Member

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    Incorporating main character/protagonist's backstory?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Holo, Oct 12, 2011.

    I've noticed in a lot of works, notably fantasy, the main character (before the plot picks up) had a normal life. Basically, there is nothing in their past that is essential to the story or needs explaining. Perhaps the circumstances of their birth, but they rarely have a lot going on prior to the storyline. However, there are some who have dark or complicated pasts and sometimes this works while other times the scenes where these pasts are explored slow down the plot and bore the reader. I can't decide whether I want to give my main heroine and protagonist a somewhat complicated backstory or make her life prior to the story as normal as possible. Which one tends to work for you? And can someone give me some examples of when each of these types of main characters are used well?
     
  2. 'Nevermore'
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    'Nevermore' New Member

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    The only examples I can think are only for my first main Antagonist, before his back story is revealed and the true main antagonist is uncovered.

    In my manga, the main baddie, Ziech, serves as the 5th Seat adn therefor leader of the Phantom Council. The original 5th Chair, Oreole, secretly was working on experiments that tampered with the fabric of the world, by building an observation shuttle, a giant star-ship if you will, called the Reach. His experiments culminated into the shattering of the continuous stream of life force called the Esper Ribbon when the Reach was activated, splitting the ribbon into 'Shards'. When he refused to cease his experimentations with life, Ziech usurped him. Ziech became 5th Chair, which lead to a bit of shuffling around of the Seats 0 through 4, leading it to be necessary for a 3rd Seat. Ziech recruits Natchi, who later betrays him and the council by destroying one of the Shards, using the now free floating Esper Ribbon remains to make herself a God. Ziech once goes to the Phantom Council Deserter Kitetsu, and they barely manage to defeat her. Since killing her was beyond their capabilities, they locked her in a subspace prison called the Locked Bastion. From behind the Bastion, Natchi slowly darkened Ziech's thoughts, fueling his paranoia until he became the antagonist he is when I have the main story kick off.

    I can't tell you the details of the otehr example, since it's from a book I'm working on and i don't want to spoil it, but why not make the backstory secluded, making the character see things we see as necessary as, to them trivial. Focus on ingraining a greater good complex, or something that let's them justify their actions (as an antagonist). For a protagonist, I recommend cobbling ideas that fit your story together in a timeline of sorts, like looking at things in your overall plot, then finding things that could help drive it, and incorporate those into the characters back story.
     

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