Every Monday, MYSTERY OF CHARACTER FEATURING SHANNON MUIR focuses on the art and craft of writing, from Shannon’s perspective or that of guest authors. To catch up on all posts, check out the MYSTERY OF CHARACTER FEATURING SHANNON MUIR portion of the website! This week features her thoughts on character backstory and how much should be revealed to readers.
One thing I really enjoy is creating characters. I lay out timelines of their lives, with key events that help form their personality from birth until the time the story takes place. Sometimes I find the events of a character’s past need to be told in detail as part of story line, but more often than not this isn’t the case.
At that point, it becomes a matter of figuring out how much of the background developed should be shared with the audience. I confess I’m often tempted to marble in some backstory in small ways, but I always need to pay attention to not getting carried away doing so. In the end, it’s the main plot that must prevail.
After all, there’s always the hope people will like the character enough to see more stories, allowing more opportunities to learn even more about the backstory.
Until next time!