1. Aelic

    Aelic New Member

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    Thoughts on a character with no backstory?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Aelic, Oct 3, 2020.

    So, I am currently in the process of creating a secondary protagonist character, but have yet to land on a decent backstory for them. While in the process, I got to thinking. If a character has a very boisterous and "loud", unforgettable presence, would it be necessary to flesh them out with a backstory, or simply implement them into the story and play off of their nature? If you think a backstory would be helpful, are there any ideas for one that you think would result in a character having that very strong presence? Thank you!
     
  2. Aled James Taylor

    Aled James Taylor Contributor Contributor

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    What is the question to which the backstory would be the answer?

    If the character behaves in a strange way such that the reader thinks you've written him badly, you may want to include a backstory to explain his odd characteristics. If the reader could easily imagine someone behaving in that way, there is no need to explain the character further.
     
  3. nippy818

    nippy818 Senior Member

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    Everyone of my characters has a backstory, but, not all of those backstories are revealed to the reader. I do it to keep their actions and motivations consistent through the story, but adding some mystery to a character by never revealing their back story is always fun. Darth Vader was a really awesome character, we knew very little of his "back story" in the original trilogy, and it didn't effect the story or who he was.
     
  4. IasminDragon

    IasminDragon Member

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    The question seems kind of vague but I don't think backstory makes a character interesting, it's the character's desires and motivations. Loud and boistrous isn't exactly unnatural (every single American I've ever met has filled that description!) but whatever he desires or what motivates him ought to fit that personality.
     
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  5. nippy818

    nippy818 Senior Member

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    And every one of us you meet in the future will probably be that way too! lol. Really though, being loud and boisterous can be a cultural thing, a character coping with something, or just who they are. the key is to keep it consistent.
     
  6. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin I don't feel tardy.... Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Stephen King has a good quote. Something like everyone has a backstory, and most of them aren't very interesting. So long as you can establish that the character is a developed human that has lived long enough to do things, you should be fine. Origins are super overrated and usually lame. If their backstory was that good, you'd be writing about the "ago" instead of the "now." By definition, the character is at or near their apotheosis. Otherwise, you wouldn't be writing about them.
     
  7. Bone2pick

    Bone2pick Conspicuously Conventional Contributor

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    What about the instances where the prequel story is preferred over the original story?
     
  8. Malum

    Malum Offline

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    I have been wondering about the best way to go about articulating the history that influenced the characters surrounding my first-person protagonist. None of the characters involved are straw people and are distinctive in voice and description. I'm trying to kinda encapsulate the different types of people and their traumas/privileges in a way similar to The Karamazov Brothers. It'd be inappropriate to use my protagonist's perception of them to draw such conclusions as it would appear too contrived and bitter. I only want to elude to pivotal moments of their past intermittently and ensure it is perceived as the truth...

    Whilst posting this I have answered my own question, unless anyone has any suggestions on how else to accomplish this. The idea of how Michael's past was made clear in The Wire (TV Series) just entered my head...Through behaviour and dialogue, so long as the dialogue isn't some forced admittance...

    So I suppose my answer would be to covertly infer the back story of the character by some means, whatever it may be that made them into the person they are, should you deem it necessary to make their past a known fact. Stating it outright isn't usually all that interesting or engaging in my eyes. Perhaps narrate how they associate with their family, there's usually a lot of cause and effect that can be inferred through how they treat their relatives later in life, should you wish to illustrate their upbringing...
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2020
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