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Creative Writing Exercises For Dummies by Maggie Hamand

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Chapter 3

Developing Your Characters’ Backgrounds

In This Chapter

arrow Inventing detailed pasts for characters

arrow Deciding to use diaries

All successful writing starts with character. Readers engage with your story through your characters, whether they’re essentially you, based on people you know or completely fictional. The most important thing to remember when you create characters is to make sure they have depth. By that I mean that your characters have a history, come from somewhere and have had experiences that moulded and shaped them.

You can’t know too much about your characters’ pasts. Even if you don’t use all the material you create, it still affects how you depict your characters, because you know what happened to your characters and that influences the way you write about them.

In this chapter, I help you build up your characters’ backgrounds so that you can get inside their heads (not literally, of course – for that you’d need Brain Surgery For Dummies!) and see what makes them tick. I guide you through creating their families, careers and childhood back stories. I also describe how you can make use of the classic story-telling structure of a diary.

Creating Seriously Deep Characters

Real people don’t spring from nowhere, simply materialising in air like the crew in Star ...

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