Last week on the podcast and over on our substack, we talked about creating amazing characters and the role of backstory.
I’m going to talk a little bit more about that today.
Again, backstory is the events that happened to your character before the actual main story starts.
So backstory, once you have it, allows you to give your character goals in the beginning of the novel and throughout the novel because it allows you the writer (and reader) to know what forces and history make that character who they are today and drive them.
The Two Goals (Thanks to Backstory) Which Gives Your Character Dimension
One goal is usually physical or tangible. They want something. Let’s say they want to drive a car. They are 15 and want to learn how to drive. That’s a tangible goal. The author wants to get her novel done. The puppy wants a bacon treat.
The other goal is usually emotional. This goal has to do with yearning. This goal is the reason for the tangible goal.
They want to learn how to drive (tangible) because they yearn to get out of their claustrophobic home (emotional).
She wants to get her novel done (tangible) because her brother always said she couldn’t get anything done because she’s lazy and she yearns to prove him wrong (emotional).
The puppy wants a bacon treat (tangible) because he yearns for bacon because that’s what he used to get in his first house before he got lost (emotional).
Without knowing the backstory, we wouldn’t know the emotional goals of the character, the why for their tangible goals. Instead we’d be reading and thinking, yeah, he wants to finish the novel. So what?
Tomorrow over on LIVING HAPPY, I’ll dive in a tiny bit more into this.
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