Writing Tip: Character Backgrounds

Sometimes I like to create extremely detailed backgrounds for my characters. Though I don’t go into as much detail as I did with my very first novel, I still put a lot of work into making my characters “come to life.”

For my first novel I went through things such as my characters favourite colours, the foods they liked to eat, their family members, their pets (if they had any), their preferred styles of clothing, their favourite genres…etc. I gave them birthdays (I even celebrated them), and full names and talked about them to my family and friends as though they were actual people. Sometimes I would go through my day pretending to be them in certain situations (I don’t recommend this…unless you want to be more confident playing basketball).

The amount of work I put into that novel (which became a 6 book series) was…well it was fun but it did distract me from things like school and that wasn’t okay. Plus some of the stuff was a little…let’s just say much. I was only thirteen then, and I didn’t have a laptop or a cellphone so…I had spare time to be imaginative.

Anyway, now instead of writing out complete profiles for characters, I only write out things that are of extreme importance to me. Things that have an effect on the story and my characters progression throughout. It still takes work, and it still takes time but it is worth it. Trust me.

I’d like to caution you not to…well put too much into your characters back story. A complicated back story is hard to express throughout the novel without it a) stressing you out and b) making the character hard to follow and also…a bit annoying.

It’s alright to have a tragic back story for your characters, but do so in a delicate fashion. Don’t just throw things into the story because it’s “dramatic” and “heart-wrenching.” As a book lover and an author…I find that stuff irritating.

I don’t mind if Bob’s parent’s were tragically killed in a car accident when he was little and that he has to live with his abusive grandfather, who hates him because his daughter married Bob’s father without her father’s blessing. Bob’s dream is to become a jockey but his grandfather is against it because he doesn’t think Bob will make much money. That’s a back story that has some depth and explanation…it’s saying “Yah this character’s an orphan and his grandpa’s a jerk” without adding in unnecessary background drama that does absolutely nothing for the story.

For example, Bob’s grandfather’s great-uncle Hank was trampled by a team of horses right in front of him. Bob also has a prosthetic leg because of the car accident. He has horrible flash backs about his first love being run over by a drunk driver while they were racing each other across the street. Bob’s claustrophobic and his grandfather is dying of a rare disease that eats away at your bones…or something.

Do not do that! Please! I am begging you!

I’ve read so many short stories by young people and they throw in so much of this…”drama” thinking that it’s good. This isn’t anime guys! Stop! Just stop! I’m trying to help you…please no over dramatic, tragic back stories. Please….

Well that’s all for now.

Write on!

— R.

Liebster Award

I was just nominated by another blogger, FoodLoveInspiration for the Liebster Award. I’ve included a link to their blog in this post. FoodLoveInspiration gave me a series of questions to answer. Here are the questions along with my answers,

1. Why did you decided to follow my blog?

I cannot exactly remember why I decided to follow your blog but I would like to assume it was because I really enjoyed something that you posted. That is usually the case.

2. Why did you choose the name for your blog?

I chose orionwriter as my blog name because Orion is my favourite constellation in the sky and one of my favourite hobbies is writing. 

3. What do you enjoy about blogging?

I’ve been blogging only for a few months now. I guess my favourite thing about blogging is that I can share the things I enjoy with others who have common interests and learn a lot of interesting things that I never could have learned at school.

4. If you have a goal what is your goal?

Well…I have a lot of goals at the moment. My main goal right now is probably getting good grades so that I can get into the University of my choice. I haven’t exactly decided on one specific school yet but I’m keeping my option open until I learn more information. I would also like to publish my first book by the end of the year…which is coming a lot sooner than I thought.

5.What is one of the hardest decisions you’ve had to make?

Uh…man. I’ve got one but it’s something I find kind of hard to talk about. It was a choice that I made…that I am happy I made now because in the end things turned out nicely. Still it just gives me this gross feeling; almost like my stomach is doing back flips.

6. What is your passion or what drives you?

My passion? The arts overall. I’m a musician, I enjoy to sketching, I am an avid reader, I write…almost all day. I just really like the arts.

7. What is something you want to do but haven’t done yet?

Ha…I don’t know. Maybe get a job? I’ve never had a real paying job. I mean I volunteer but that’s different. My pay for that is making people smile.

8. If you are a writer what inspired you to write? If you are a Chef or love to cook what inspire you to cook? If your a designer what inspired you to be a designer? If you just want to help people or inspire people through your blog what inspired you?

I am a writer. What inspired me to write? I honestly have no idea. I’ve been writing since I was in kindergarten. One of my first stories was about a zombie that wanted friends. I also remember writing a book back in elementary school (maybe 1st grade) for a close family member. I was always writing and telling stories. I just got more serious about it when I was thirteen. That was when I decided that writing was something that I wanted to get better at.

9. What can’t you see, can’t you touch, can’t you hear, and it’s free?

Air…at least it’s free for now anyways.

10.What do you believe in? Why?

I believe that everyone should treat each other the way we wish to be treated. I guess my reasoning for this is because I have a hard time being mean to people. If kids were mean to me back in elementary school I’d usually just tell them to have a nice day. I am just that kind of person.

11. If you can have anything you want what would it be?

If I could have anything I wanted? Well if I was still ten I would say a puppy. I like dogs a lot but one of my parents has allergies to both dogs and cats. I kind of would like money. I have a good answer to the question now…I would love it if I had enough money to purchase as many books as I want this weekend. I mean I need more than $100 for at least four books. I swear having to pay that much for books should be a crime! If anyone would like to donate to the “help Orion buy books fund” it would be much appreciated.


Alright so now that I have answered these questions I am going to go and nominate others for this same award.

If you would like to see the rules for this award so that you can nominate someone check out my next blog post.