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"Backstory, backstory, backstory!" - Dr. Heinz Doofenshmirtz

Good afternoon, my writing friends! And all my non-writing friends. My art friends, theatre friends, cleaning friends, animal lover friends, nature lover friends, athletic friends –

I hope that you are all having a wonderful Thursday, and today, I want to talk about more writing tips! So, today, let’s talk about the characters. Let’s be honest – writing characters can be fun. But it can also be hard. If you are writing a fiction novel of any sort, you most likely have characters. I know I mentioned characters before, but they are just so important I want to mention it again.

Listen, nobody loves a shallow character. Nobody. They’re not fun to read. You can’t connect to them, they don’t pop on the page, they’re just kind of eh. I don’t think you want eh characters, and I believe that one of the best ways to add depth is to create a backstory.

But, I’m already writing a story. Are you telling me to add a backstory?

Yep. But listen – this can be equally as fun as writing your actual story! If your character doesn’t like bubble gum, and this becomes essential to your story, make a backstory! Why do they hate bubble gum? Did somebody they love like bubble gum and then break their heart, thereby making them hate bubblegum?

Or maybe they just hate bubblegum because they don’t like how it hurts their teeth. Either way, the backstory adds dimension.

In Undaunted, there are many sections where people are looking back and remembering – it’s basically their memories. But it gives the reader a backstory and gives them insight into why a character acts a certain way. I’m not saying that you have to do this for your book, but even if you don’t include backstory in your manuscript, make one up for yourself. If you’re trying to make your character believable, give them a history. It doesn’t have to be a super intense history, but give them a background.

For example, I believe I like coffee so much because when I was young, coffee meant car rides with my older sister. She would always pay for me (woot woot!), and I loved spending time with her. I have very good associations with coffee, and that may be why I like coffee so much today.

That’s not exactly a groundbreaking discovery, but it’s a background of me. It gives me depth. I didn’t just wake up loving coffee one day. I had a history of learning to like it. But it’s these details that make me and your characters interesting.

So give them some backstory. It doesn’t have to be intense, or serious, but if there is a significant detail about your character, think about why it’s significant to them.

And that's the advice that I have for you, my friends. Give your characters a backstory. Give them some depth, and have fun with it, beloved. Beloved, have fun with this dream of yours. This is supposed to be fun! So keep enjoying, beloved. Your Heavenly Father delights in your enjoyment.

Remember, you are deeply loved.

(And yes, the above quote is from Phineas and Ferb).


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