June 11, 2013

Writing About: A Character’s Past

Revealing a character’s past isn’t necessary unless something happened in the past that your readers need to know. Or if the character is mysterious, in which case, telling your readers a little more about them can be a smart move.

There are two methods you can use to create a character’s past:
1.   Completely make it up from scratch. What does your character tell you? What does the plot entail? What is your story about? When you ponder those three questions you should be able to come up with events or circumstances that could make up your character’s past. 
 2.   Use bits and pieces from your own past. This method is easy as you already lived through it once, so writing about it should be a piece of cake. Your past is yours, it is free, and if you want to use it you can! 
3.   You can use a perfect blend of 1 and 2.
No matter which option you choose to compose your character's past make sure to use plenty of emotion and prose to bring it to life!

Stayed tuned for tips on how to spill a character’s secrets! Coming soon...

SHARE: How do you write about a character’s past?


  1. I write so many characters who are unlike me in every way, imagining pasts for them can be fun but also troublesome work. It's a good idea to blend new content with content from my own life, though--I'm sure I have bits and pieces that any character could use!

  2. Kiersi, I'm glad to be able to give you an idea that you might be able to use!

    Thank you for visiting my blog!

  3. For all main characters I've created a character profile sheet. I list vital statistics, talents, interests, mannerisms, hobbies and relationship skills (or how they act around other people.) I try to come up with something for each category.

    I've found even if nothing is ever used in the story, the character feels more real to me and easier to write for.

    1. I forgot to mention this profile sheet lists a good and bad noteworthy event in their life as well. So when I start writing anything regarding a persons past, it almost writes itself.

    2. That's a great idea, Jeffrey! I'll have to try this for my characters. :) Thanks for sharing your technique!