How do I tell my main character’s backstory throughout the book?

Asked by: Sue Irvin

This can be revealed by:

  1. Exposition – simply telling the reader about the past.
  2. Flashbacks – where the reader is thrown back in time into the mind of the protagonist when the event occurred.
  3. Reflection – where the character ‘thinks’ about the past while doing something else.

How do you reveal a character’s backstory?

How to Write Compelling Backstories for Your Characters

  1. Build a timeline of your character’s life events. …
  2. Make sure backstory details are relevant. …
  3. Draw inspiration from real life. …
  4. Show, don’t tell. …
  5. Don’t overload your first chapter with backstory.


How do you incorporate a backstory in a novel?

Only insert backstory where it’s relevant.



Backstory should always be triggered by something that’s happening in the story present. Think about how your memories pop up in your own life. They are usually triggered by something you see, hear, feel, etc.

When should you reveal a character’s backstory?

We should discover character backstory only when it’s natural and necessary. For example, I wrote a novella in which the main character is missing three fingers from his right hand. This detail is clearly established in the second scene, yet the reader doesn’t immediately know where his fingers went.

How do you introduce a background in a story?

Put the backstory in the main story.



Try not to give too much too soon to the reader. Instead, place the backstory into the story in doses or short sections. Include only one to two lines of backstory in a scene set in the present. This way, the backstory doesn’t feel too distracting to the reader.

Why is it important to know a character’s backstory?

Backstory has two main jobs to fulfill in your story: (1) to reveal important information about the main characters, and (2) to help depict a fully realized story world. A character’s backstory comprises all the data of his history, revealing how he became who he is, and why he acts as he does and thinks as he thinks.

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How do you write a good tragic backstory?

6 Tips for Writing a Sad Story

  1. Tap into your own emotionality. …
  2. Know the difference between sentimentality and truth. …
  3. Leave room to be surprised by specific detail. …
  4. Pair strong emotions with ordinary ones. …
  5. Use backstories to add weight. …
  6. Use sad moments to further character development.


How does a backstory differ from your background?

So, the main difference between Backstory and Background is that Backstory is directly tied to the essential growth and development of the story’s storyform, while Background provides an environment within which the characters have individual, historical contexts as an aspect of the story’s storytelling.

How do you avoid information dump in writing?

The key technique to avoid info dumping is to introduce just as much info as the reader needs, when they need it. That could mean sprinkling info across lots of different sections — or missing out some bits altogether.

Does every character need a backstory?

Not every character needs a backstory. Many minor characters in fiction only need to appear consistent with their context and the purpose they have in the narrative.

How do you get a good OC personality?

8 Tips for Character Development

  1. Establish a character’s motivations and goals. …
  2. Choose a voice. …
  3. Do a slow reveal. …
  4. Create conflict. …
  5. Give important characters a backstory. …
  6. Describe a character’s personality in familiar terms. …
  7. Paint a physical picture of your characters. …
  8. Develop secondary characters.


What is a flat character?

A flat character is a character with little to no complex emotions, motivations, or personality. They also don’t undergo any kind of change to make them more well-rounded. In other words, they’re the opposite of a “round character,” who has a fully fleshed out profile and changes throughout the story.

What is meant by Mary Sue?

Mary Sue is a term used to describe a fictional character, usually female, who is seen as too perfect and almost boring for lack of flaws, originally written as an idealized version of an author in fanfiction.

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How do you write an OC bio?

What to include in your character profile:

  1. Character basics such as name, age,
  2. Physical description of character’s appearance.
  3. The personality traits of the character.
  4. Overview of the character’s health.
  5. Career and education details.
  6. Preferences of the character.
  7. Description of the character’s family life.

How can I make my OC more interesting?

Starting Tips



You should start with a concept, personality, or backstory, and make your character’s appearance based on that. Don’t try and rush the creative process! If you can’t decide on something, give it time. Not all OCs were made in a day – in fact, redesigning and adding new features on is part of having an OC!

How do you outline a character in a novel?

Write the name of your character, and answer questions with that character in mind. Choose the questions that you think are interesting or helpful – don’t feel obligated to answer every question for every character if you don’t want to.

How do you plan a character in a novel?

How to create vivid characters for your novel or screenplay

  1. Start with a character archetype. …
  2. Add specific characteristics. …
  3. Build the backstory. …
  4. Give them quirks, faults, and flaws. …
  5. Give your character an arc. …
  6. Add visual references. …
  7. Organise & refine. …
  8. Create the rest of your characters.


How do I map my character?

You can design a character map that traces a character’s growth throughout the plot of a novel or original story. Draw boxes or circles to represent the character’s state at the beginning of the story, the important plot points that cause him to change and who he ends up being at the end.

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How do I make a character sheet?


Step by step you start by choosing a race then an alignment. If you're unsure on what to choose from any of these. Options check the compendium. Text on the right hand side of the character.

How do you create a deep character?

Here are five ways to enhance your characters and their depth.

  1. Give Your Characters a Personality Flaw. Characters need to be portrayed as living and breathing humans. …
  2. Give Your Characters an Addiction. …
  3. Give Your Character a Physical Disability. …
  4. Give Your Character a Mental Disability. …
  5. Give Your Character a Secret.


What are the 12 character archetypes?

There are twelve brand archetypes: The Innocent, Everyman, Hero, Outlaw, Explorer, Creator, Ruler, Magician, Lover, Caregiver, Jester, and Sage.

How do you write a good villain?

Most great villains share a common set of characteristics.

  1. Strong connection to the hero. The best villains are inextricably connected to the hero, and aid in the hero’s character development through their inherent opposition to them. …
  2. Clear morality. …
  3. A worthy opponent. …
  4. Compelling backstory. …
  5. Villains should be fun.


How can I write a good story?

The Top 10 Tips For Writing Great Short Stories

  1. Understand that a short story is not the same as a novel. …
  2. Start as close to the end as possible. …
  3. Keep up the pace. …
  4. Keep the number of characters small. …
  5. Give the reader someone to root for. …
  6. Create conflict! …
  7. Suggest a backstory but don’t elaborate. …
  8. Appeal to the five senses.

Is fiction real or fake?

“Fiction” refers to literature created from the imagination. Mysteries, science fiction, romance, fantasy, chick lit, crime thrillers are all fiction genres.

How many pages is 75 000 words?

150 pages

75,000 words is 150 pages single-spaced or 300 pages double-spaced. Typical documents that are 75,000 words or more include full-length novels. It will take approximately 250 minutes to read 75,000 words.