Characters Part 2

In a previous post, I shared a bit about what goes on when I’m creating a character.

I can’t say that I’m surprised to find that the process has changed a little bit. I’m still doing the character sheet, but there have been a few tweaks along the way.

For example, I got rid of the “What did this character want before the story started?” question. I changed it to the following three questions:

  1. What does this character want?
  2. Why do they want it (no cheap answers here. Be specific)?
  3. What are the obstacles keeping them from what they want?

Goal. Motivation. Conflict.

All wrapped up in a nice neat series of questions.

Another thing I’ve started doing with my major characters is writing up their background. I try not to get too detailed – sometimes that even works…not often, but sometimes.

Having said that, I do start from the time they were born. I look at what their childhood might have been like. What episodes and experiences from their past laid the foundation for who they are today?

I build this background up until about the time that the story starts.


This helps me to better understand the character. If I know where they’ve come from, I can get an idea of where they are going…and what they might be willing to do to get there.

Most of this background material is for my eyes only. Of what remains, very little of it will make it – whole cloth – into the story. This is for me, but echoes of it will get filtered in to help me give depth to the character, or to more fully express their world.

Now, maybe this seems like I’ve gone off into the realm of diminishing returns by not using more of a character’s back story, but most of that stuff really should remain in the past.

And, you never can know when something will pop up that ends up having a significant effect on the story.


Time: 11:26 Pm – ish

Music: Cinderella – Gypsy Road