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Join date : 2009-08-21
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Character Background, Disambiguated Empty
PostSubject: Character Background, Disambiguated   Character Background, Disambiguated I_icon_minitimeSun Oct 11, 2009 11:04 am

History is sometimes a challenge for us. I know I've had issues trying to make something that gave my character a good amount of depth, which is the entire reason we have background. The Background section can give you everything about your character if you feel like it. It can explain why your character's personality is the why it is, or why they appear the way they do, or why their abilities are as they are.

We'd all love to know where that lovely array of scars came from. Who gave them to your character? Were they self-inflicted? Where was your character when it happened? What caused the situation that led up to the wounds that would become the scars? What effects do these have on your character? Is your character self-conscious of them? Does you character try to hide them or do they try to show everyone they possibly can?

Or how about that really nice blast-attack your character has. Who taught it to your character? Was it self-taught? What did your character have to do to learn it? Does your character use it often, or almost never? Has it grown in power over time or has it remained the same or diminished? Has your character figured out multiple ways to use this blast attack? What's their favorite way?

These above questions can't ALL be covered in the Apparel, Personality, and Ability Sections. Background ties them all together and makes your character actually be a real person in the World of Remnant Souls. Seriously, make the character your own rather than just let it be there. It needs to be written as if you were writing your very own autobiography. This helps us figure out how creative you are and how comfortable you are with putting expression in your writing.

Just a couple of guidelines while writing:
1) ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS: Third person (he/she/it point of view), past tense, complete sentences.

2) Think about how many life stages there are:
A human has at least three: Childhood, Adulthood, discovery/honing of powers.
A Shinigami should always have 5 Stages: Human Life, Death, Time in Soul Society before the Academy, Academy Student, Shinigami Career
A Vizardshould always have 7 Stages: Human Life, Death, Time in Soul Society before the Academy, Academy Student, Shinigami Career, Holowfication, Life as a Vizard
An Arrancar should always have 5 Life Stages: Human Life, Death, Arrival in Hueco Mundo, Life as a Gillian, Life as an Adjuchas, Life as a Vasto Lorde

3) Each Life stage should discuss at least one strongly influencing encounter/event with a person/place/thing/obstacle and what resulted or what they learned from that circumstance.

Quote :
Little Johnny witnessed Mommy getting beaten up by drunk Daddy and a couple thugs. He ran at them, but was knocked away by his Father, causing his head to strike the wall with a sickening thud. All he could do was listen to hands and feet striking Mommy while her muffled cries broke the silence. Everything faded to black...

What effect would that have on him? When he becomes an Advent Human will he be protective of women or will he have learned only how to be helpless? Will Johnny forever be skeptical of Father-figures and deduce only the worst-case-scenario when it comes to Fathers? How hard will he be on random thugs he might encounter in the city, or how will he react to thugs that gang up on a woman?

Or, could it be that little Johnny SAVED his mother by awakening his Advent abilities? If so, is this a circumstancial thing, such as his powers manifesting only when he sees Mommy or other women being accosted? Or is it like a floodgate being opened and now he can use his abilities very strongly? Will he be frightened by this power of his and vow never to use it again? Will he feel empowered and become power-hungry? Was Mommy frightened or thankful? What effect did Mommy's reaction have on him?

4) Always ask questions about your character that you should always answer. The reason we should always do this is because on the first go-round our characters are only sketches of ideas that we simply wrote down.
We don't find much out about someone we meet with only one conversation. We call them acquaintances, not people we are familiar with. You WANT to be familiar with your character as if it's your best friend - but don't actually treat like an imaginary friend that will replace your real friends; you get the idea.
I'm sure most of you are thinking "Of coursde I'm familiar with my character - I MADE IT!." Well, not so. Example.

Quote :
Little Johnny was raised in a broken home. Daddy was a drunk and Mommy was abused. One day, Daddy struck Johnny and he passed out. Later, he vowed he'd never let Mommy get hurt again.
Ten years later, Johnny died and arrived in Soul Society...

This doesn't say a whole lot. I'm sure most children make that promise to themselves. But this doesn't say anything about his emotions. It doesn't mention any specific instances that caused him to make that vow. It doesn't mention if he ever had an opportunity to keep that vow, or if he re-nigged on it from fear or anger or frustration.
As far as we can infer, the drunken beating happened only once - then what? Did Daddy start going to AA? Did Mommy run away? Did she take Little Johnny away from home or leave him?

The biggest thing is asking questions. If you are capable of asking questions, you are capable of making a character with a ten paragraph background in the matter of less than half an hour - less than a 30-minute TV show - less time than that song-playlist you like to listen to while you write and get the creative juices flowing in your brain.
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