A backstory is a literary device authors use to give their characters a sense of history. It is the imagined past character’s lives and the world they possess and those events take place before the main narrative of the story. It’s the best tool you have to develop relatable, realistic, three-dimensional characters for your novel and it can be a collection of data, such as keystone events, names and dates. It also helps to explain your characters’ desires, fears and motivations.
Here are three things you should know about a backstory :
- It Reveals Motivation: The backstory should always motivate the character, either positively or negatively. The character either stands on what he knows and has experienced, or he’s running away from what he knows and has experienced. Either way, it can make a compelling plot for your novel.
- It Expresses Innermost Fears: A backstory would help you to define your main character’s fears which acts as the main background of the story. When you validate those fears, it helps to raise the stakes higher and gives you a better understanding of your main character and a better understanding of what exactly those fears are.
- It Increases The Reader’s Understanding: A backstory would gradually reveal a character’s sad past and would give the reader a context over the choices the character makes or the fears they carry with them which gives the reader a sense of judgement and keeps them in flow with the story.
A backstory helps to improve the quality of your writing and as you know your characters in and out, it will be more real to you and as a result, becomes more real and delightful to your readers.
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