Welcome back TWNers!!!! Today I have the honor to take part in the Words blog tour to celebrate the launch of a NEW author site!!! So go check out my super awesome friend Kaley’s FANTABULOUS site and join us today for a post on backstories!!
The first part of this post was written by the one and only Kaley and the second part I wrote. I’ll put a tiny breaker in between so y’all know who did what but won’t take attention away from the post. 🙂
And now…. THE POST!!!
Humans are complicated. It’s an established fact that you yourself have almost certainly groaned about at some point or another. Why are they complicated? Because of the unique set of information they have to process every day and the also unique circumstances that teach them how to process it.
Since new things happen daily that they react to by their past situations, you can basically say that a human is a robot coded by the universe and the coder’s never done. So when we, as writers, come to write a book in which we become the universe and want to set the code, we have to keep in mind what other lines of code are written before the code of the story.
Before the story happens, if it’s to be believed, thousands of events have happened that have shaped your character. She or he has beliefs and misbeliefs, knowledge and areas of foolishness, and so many various memories that need to be the basis of what happens. So if you want to write a story about a doubtful kid learning to trust a goof of a king, you’ll need to choose the character to craft the story around who could actually end up in that situation. What past situations does this character need to present this message believably? You need to give them a background check until you’ve found the one.
Let’s say your story is about a girl in a hospital who meets a musical boy. She shows him the bad in the world he didn’t quite believe in and he shows her the beauty of the world that she’d forgotten. Who is this girl and what brought her to the hospital? Why doesn’t she remember beauty? And who is this boy? Why wouldn’t he know the pain of the world? How would their meeting affect each other, really? Could they believable become friends? You need to make sure that these things could actually happen and that means checking their backstory and explaining it and applying it to your story.
Let’s be honest, crafting a character’s backstory can be loads of fun. And it’s usually the moment when the whole “evil author” tactic shines through the strongest. However, there are a few areas to keep in mind, let’s say key aspects you’ll want to try to check off so to speak, when creating this backstory.
The first is, your character’s backstory needs to in some way connect to what their current desire of “character want” is. What are they aiming for? What is the one thing they want more than anything that they’ll do whatever it takes to get? What’s their biggest desire that they believe, if they could just get, will make them happy? Now the biggest question of all: why do they want it? Let’s look at Ally Carter’s YA thriller novel All Fall Down. Grace’s biggest desire is to find her mother’s killer. Why? Because the night she saw her mother die, she saw a man with a scar, but no one would believe her. Now everyone thinks she’s crazy. But if she could just find this killer, she can prove them all wrong. You see how the backstory ties into the character’s desire? Let’s try another. In Lauren Wolk’s MG historical fiction novel, Beyond the Bright Sea, Crow has no idea who her parents were or where she’s come from. Her guardian, Osh, just found her one day. However, many people believe Crow might’ve come to a nearby island that used to be a colony for those with leprosy. Because of this, many people reject her or try to stay away from her, thinking she might be contagious. Crow wants to discover who her family were/are, maybe even find a place she belongs. Without these backstories tying into the character’s desire, their want isn’t great enough or strong enough for us to care about.
Secondly, backstory can and should have a direct impact on the character’s lie. Maybe there was something in their past that is the result of why they believe about themselves and the world the way that they do. Opinions like these don’t just come from nowhere. They have a heavy influence from the character’s backstory. It doesn’t just have to be something huge. It could even be something small that happened that implanted the lie. In Melanie Cellier’s YA fairy tale retelling The Princess Companion, Alyssa’s character lie is that she isn’t a strong person. Why? Because all her life, growing up with her older brothers, they always teased her for being too sensitive and weak. This is a great example of how some character lie’s can be a result of something small that happened in the past.
In the end, backstories are a lot of fun to write and read! They can reveal major plot twists, surge the story along, bring a bit of excitement, and most importantly, play a huge impact in the character’s life! Backstories don’t have to be dramatic past events, they can even be something small as a mean comment or drastic change that occurred in the character’s life. No matter how your backstory is portrayed, remember the influence they can have over your character’s desire and lie.
Kaley Kriesel is a 15-year-old Christian author from Oklahoma, USA, where she pursues Jesus and studies from her home. She has been writing for as long as she can remember, and when she isn’t writing, learning, or socializing, you can most often find her playing ukulele or reading a book. She has two blogs, Words and Sketch Scribble Scribe.
THANK YOU Kaley for helping me out with this post!!!!! Make sure y’all check out her blog AND don’t forget to hop on and catch the rest of the blog tour:
Dunno about y’all, but I’m personally excited to the post about writing villain motivations. C’mon. Y’all gotta admit that’s a fun topic. XD
And super huge shout out to Jenna Terese’s post for the tour of which I copied and pasted all the graphics and information. If y’all were expecting something’s changed since the last few blog tours and I’m not still too lazy to open my email and get it for myself, well, sorry to disappoint.
So do you enjoy writing backstories? Which is easier to come up with and write: a character’s desire or a character’s lie? Who else is too lazy to open their email? I need to know I’m not the only one. 😂
Until the next post,
Keep on being awesome and never stop writing,