How do you tell a character’s backstory without explicitly telling it?

Asked by: Nikki Blankenship

Simply think about how you learn the background of other people in real life. You get some hints from what people do, what others say about them, and from the context in which they appear. Then you get to know them, but at first your don’t directly ask them for the story of their lives (unless you’re a clod).

How do you reveal a backstory of a character?

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.


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.

What is the show not tell technique?

“Show, don’t tell” is a writing technique that allows the reader to experience expository details of the story through actions, sensory details, words, or the expression of characters’ emotions, as opposed to through the author’s own description of events.

Which anime character has the saddest backstory?

With that in mind, here are some of the saddest anime backstories.

  • 9 Kurapika (Hunter x Hunter)
  • 10 Edward and Alphonse Elric (Fullmetal Alchemist) …
  • 11 Hatori Chise (The Ancient Magus’ Bride) …
  • 12 Ray (The Promised Neverland) …
  • 13 Lelouch VI Britannia (Code Geass) …
  • 14 Eri (My Hero Academia) …
  • 15 Levi Ackerman (Attack on Titan) …

How do you write a character with a tragic past?

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.
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How do you write from a villain’s point of view?

From the villain’s perspective, he is the protagonist of his own story. Don’t forget that. Writing the villain with the consciousness that he is actively involved as the hero of his own story will make your villain more realistic, interesting, and compelling.

What is a character history?

Backstory is a synonym for ‘character history’ in a way. It’s the web of formative experiences that help to explain your characters’ desires, fears and motivations. Every time you create a new character, think about their history.

How do you find the information in a novel?

The simplest (and most powerful) way to look at plot reveals is simply as new information that changes the story. The character learns about something that affects her view of the conflict, either altering a previous goal or providing a new goal altogether.

How do you show someone is scared of writing?

In this post, we have included 32 things for you to consider when you write about fear.



B) Body Language

  1. Hunching shoulders.
  2. Shrinking away.
  3. Open mouth.
  4. Wide eyes.
  5. Shaking.
  6. Trembling.
  7. Freezing.
  8. Wrapping arms around oneself.

What does it mean for writing to create an impression rather than directly tell a story?

What does it mean for writing to create an impression, rather than directly tell a story? The writing uses details and tone to suggest an overall emotion or idea.

How can I write more descriptively?

7 Tips for Writing Descriptive Sentences

  1. Cut out obvious descriptions. …
  2. Use surprising words. …
  3. Remember sensory details. …
  4. Make use of figurative language. …
  5. Think about who is doing the describing. …
  6. Be wary of over-description. …
  7. Read good examples of descriptive writing.


How can I make my writing come alive?

5 Ways to Make Your Fiction Come Alive

  1. Paint a Memorable Picture. Writers are artists, using words in place of paint to create visuals for their readers. …
  2. Let Your Characters Speak. …
  3. While You’re at It, Listen to Your Characters. …
  4. Avoidance, Avoidance, Avoidance. …
  5. Kidnap Your Readers and Never Let Them Go.
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How do you write a story on Wattpad?

  1. Click on Write on the top menu bar.
  2. Select the story you want to add tags to.
  3. Click on the title.
  4. Click in the box right under Description.
  5. Type in your description. …
  6. Click on Save in the upper right-hand corner when you’re done.
  7. How do you make your story set more real and familiar?

    How to Create a Vivid Setting for Your Story

    1. Use place to your advantage. Place denotes both geographical location and immediate surroundings. …
    2. Make use of time. …
    3. Show the world through your characters’ eyes. …
    4. Be aware of how setting affects emotions.


    How do you base a character on a real person?

    If you base a fictional character on a living person, mask identifying features. Change physical details and life histories so the character is not recognizable. The more villainous the character, the more changes you should make. The same is true if you are using a company as an evil character, such as a polluter.

    How do you write a character that feels real?

    7 Tips for Writing Realistic Characters

    1. Draw from real life. …
    2. Incorporate flaws. …
    3. Include mannerisms. …
    4. Give the character motivation. …
    5. Write realistic dialogue. …
    6. Include relationships with supporting characters. …
    7. Develop your characters.


    How do you make a story not predictable?

    To combat predictability in your plot, try thinking about the complete opposite of every twist or turn you’ve noted down above. If your narrative naturally begins to lean towards a certain outcome or event, try steering it in the complete opposite direction and see what happens.

    Whats a good plot twist?

    The villain is revealed to have been right under the hero’s nose the whole time. The strength of a character is actually their greatest weakness. The hero must die to save everyone else. The villain has a change of heart but has driven the hero too far over the edge and must stop them.

    How many plot twists should a novel have?

    Night Shyamalan), limit it to one twist per story. Otherwise, the reader will stop trusting you. Your storytelling will come off as cheap thrills without substance. But, remember that you don’t need to include a plot twist to weave a compelling tale.

    How do you foreshadow?

    To create foreshadowing in fiction or non-fiction,

    1. Give the reader direct information by mentioning an upcoming event or explaining the plans of the people or characters portrayed in the text: …
    2. Place clues in the first few sentences of a story or chapter to indicate the themes that will be important later:

    How are Romeo and Juliet’s deaths foreshadowed throughout the play?

    Romeo says “Come, death, and welcome. Juliet wills it so.” Juliet has a vision of Romeo “As one dead in the bottom of a tomb” (3.5). This heavy foreshadowing of the lovers’ deaths emphasizes that they are trapped by their fates. It also has the effect of making Romeo and Juliet’s love seem more precious.

    How do you foreshadow a character’s death?

    Foreshadow. In general, your characters shouldn’t die out of the blue. Yes, you may want to shock your reader but when they look back, they should realize his fate was inescapable. For example, before watching Endgame, I knew Tony Stark was going to die (I’m still not over it).

    How do you foreshadow a villain?

    The answer is just to let your hidden antagonist be more clever and charming than that. It’s not in the antagonist’s best interest to come off like a villain! Instead, let them act like a good friend and set up the reveal by foreshadowing their motivation for betraying the group.

    How do you reveal a twist villain?

    Let the villain make sacrifices. Let the reader see it, but keep the protagonist in the dark – or, maybe the protag can see it but can’t do anything about it. A surprise reveal is over and done, and it shoves everything we’ve accepted up that point off the table.

    How do you reveal an evil character?

    The Immediate Reveal

    1. Withhold the villain’s identity from the protagonist/other main characters.
    2. Place the villain in a symbolically “unreachable” place, where he/she can taunt the hero at will.
    3. Describe in detail the villain weaving his/her plot, right under the noses of the protagonists.


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