Character Biography (Not Backstory)

I know I always come back to writing backstories for your characters, but sometimes it isn’t enough for the writer. Maybe your character is wanting their life story told so you know how they have become the person they are at the beginning of the plot. Or maybe you are more of a narrative person and want to connect everything on your character sheet together.

Doing a character biography is something you can do strictly for your world binder.

It’s a good way to get to know your character and feel closer to portraying them in a realistic way. Also this can be a good activity for a rainy day when you have nothing to read.

How Do You Start Off?

Start with their name and date of birth and parents. If you want, you can include things like a summary of the parent’s love story, or their circumstances when the character was born.

From there keep going until the present moment of the story. Let your character guide you through it. Take a look at Jane Eyre. The story is a complete character biography, and you feel it. Remember that it is through the character’s eyes you are looking through, not you as the narrator.

What Else Should I Include?

Talk about lost love, deep secrets, that time they had rocks thrown at them by the local bully. Write down all of it. If nothing else use your character sheet as a form of reference for this. Tie in questions that you answered and expand on them more.

Don’t worry about the length of this biography. It can range from a few paragraphs to about as long as your book will be. This is all about your connection to the character and making them as real as possible to you for when you start writing.

Have you tried something like this before? Did you feel closer to your characters, or did you feel like it was just TMI? Let me know in the comments below.

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