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Creating Backstories

      If' you're like me, you've just finished your entry for a contest and you are taking this time to breath.  Maybe you haven't started a new big project.  Maybe your thoughts still linger around your last story.
     So why not create some backstories?

    Pick a side character in your story -- one that interests you.  For me, that is Helka.  By the time Moriah meets her in my story, Helka is old and knowledgeable.  She has a history of both good and bad decisions that have brought her to this point.  But, due to word limits, I don't have time to explore that in Blood of Beauty.

      If you want to explore all of your characters, you could write a little backstory snippet for each of them.  For me, I want to explore Helka in depth...kind of like I explored my villains in my first Beauty and the Beast story (for links to those posts see this post), although Helka is not a villain.

     I wrote the first one last week.  It was a scene from Helka's childhood.  It lays the groundwork for how Helka gained some of her skills, it introduced the mirror, and it starts to share some of the philosophy that drove Helka to make her bad choices.  And it was so much fun!!!!  Next, I'll probably do a scene from Helka's youth.

      Try this for one of your side characters!  First, look over your characters and see which backstory intrigues you.  If you have to force it, then it won't be fun.  You want a backstory that is going to add to your original tale in a beneficial way.

     Think about the good and bad decisions the character made in your story.  Why would they do that?  Have they made decisions like that before?  What do they believe will happen based on their decisions and why?  

     Then go back into that character's past and write a scene showing something that will start to develop their future decisions.

     It doesn't have to happen all at once.  As you can see from my Beauty and the Beast villain -- he wasn't born a bad guy.  He was just a shy little kid.  But he starts making bad decisions and they keep getting worse and worse until he can't even see how far he has fallen.

    If you can, mix in historical elements for your main story.  Maybe your Snow White doesn't remember the Great War before peace was made by her father marrying their princess and bringing her home to be Snow White's evil stepmother, but your dwarf fought in that war and still mistrusts the enemy princess.  In my Helka backstory, you'll see the mirror, you'll see the dwarves, you'll see Snow White's mother before she dies.

    So try it!  And tell me which character you picked!


  1. I like that you are expanding Helka's story. She was a really interesting character and I felt sympathetic for her.

    I have started writing a sequel, don't have much yet. I am having fun with Cynfael.


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