Last week's series on Backstory from My Book Therapy generated a great question. Both Susan and Rachel were nice enough to answer...
Question: I've always wondered how authors could come up with some pretty fantastic characters. I wonder how they organize it all (the backstory)?
Susie here: I sit down with my character as if we’re on the sofa and we have a chat, and I go through his/her major life events, and how they affected him, what fears and dreams and lies they might have generated to find out which ones I might include in the story. I might even write out those events in a journal entry and then refer to them as I write the story. I also keep a picture (usually a movie star or a catalogue model) and a chart of the particulars – height, eye color, etc. Finally, I make a timeline of his life, so I keep it all accurate. I staple that all together and keep it with me as I write (and I do this for each character).
Rachel: I write the bio as if someone were going to read about this person like an interview. I would start with your family to who your siblings are, major things that might have happened where they lived, favorite things, past relationships, college, etc. So it’s more of a personnel file. From that, I may find a mindset, a value, a fear, a characteristic I can use to plot and characterize. I organize it all in 3 x5 cards, an excel spreadsheet or I keep it in a word doc. I do it for the major characters – hero and heroines.
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Thanks for the post Tricia!!!!!!!
No, no ladies, THANK YOU for sharing your GREAT advice!
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