16 January 2008

Building a History

When beginning a story, or even thinking about one, I'm the type that thinks about the characters' history first.

Where do they come from? What do they do for a living? What's their favorite food, political leanings, likes, dislikes etc? What's their favorite sports team?

Knowing this information, helps me write these characters in a deep meaningful way. This type of information is important, well, besides the sports team question, which is a joke unless they happen to be a redneck, because that could be a murder motive right there.

History is important because it helps drive the plot along:

The hero and villain and they hate each other (aha!) The villain's out to kill the hero (and his girlfriend, the heroine) because of some crap that went down in college --or even high school. Nerds think about revenge and can build themselves a raygun to get it.
Or
Villain is peeved at the heroine for droppping him because he worked too much, drank too much, or just.. well, sucked at something I won't mention here. *coughs* And now he's out for revenge and/or to get her back. As if!
Or
The hero and heroine knew one another in high school. She was popular, he was a nerd. But now, after he grew into his nose, ears and um.. feet *grins* he got smokin' hot!! Guess what? Nerds think about sex when they're not figuring out how to build rayguns.
Or
He was popular in high school, she was the nerd. Guess what? Boys like bewbies, and now she's got them. Can you say wonderbra? I can. I can also say degree in business and a heap of confidence, which is what he notices. Along with the wonderbra, of course. I mean come on, they're bewbies, Ed.

***
History whether it's something that's shared between the two main characters or just somethingbetween the author knows about the and hero/heroine, it can help make the character more realistic.

Flaws, tics and/or other strange habits can help do this too, as long as they're not overdone, then it just gets annoying. Finding the right one is can be difficult though, but this is why most authors observe other people. We're looking for that one little quirk we need to give our characters all important.. LIFE! This fun-filled activity that authors-me at least- do is the only good reason I can think of to go to the mall or retail forbid, the Hellmart.


I'm praying they'll let Friday out early for good behavior, 'til then..
Happy Hump Day Yall,

Jenna Leigh
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