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Guidelines for writing Poems, Stories and Tales

How do I tell my main character’s backstory throughout the book?



This can be revealed by: Exposition – simply telling the reader about the past. Flashbacks – where the reader is thrown back in time into the mind of the protagonist when the event occurred. Reflection – where the character ‘thinks’ about the past while doing something else.

What is the best way to tell a character’s backstory?

The Do’s and Don’ts of Revealing a Character’s Backstory

  1. DO Write Everything Down About Your Character.
  2. DON’T Share Everything With Your Readers.
  3. DO Pinpoint the Defining Events that Impacted the Character.
  4. DON’T Get Carried Away.
  5. DO Show Moral Conflict Throughout the Character’s Past.
  6. DON’T Narrate the Backstory.

How do you write a main character backstory?

How to Write Compelling Backstories for Your Characters

  1. Build a timeline of your character’s life events. …
  2. Make sure backstory details are relevant. …
  3. Draw inspiration from real life. …
  4. Show, don’t tell. …
  5. Don’t overload your first chapter with backstory.





When should you reveal a character’s backstory?

We should discover character backstory only when it’s natural and necessary. For example, I wrote a novella in which the main character is missing three fingers from his right hand. This detail is clearly established in the second scene, yet the reader doesn’t immediately know where his fingers went.

What is the backstory in a book called?

A backstory, background story, back-story, or background is a set of events invented for a plot, presented as preceding and leading up to that plot. It is a literary device of a narrative history all chronologically earlier than the narrative of primary interest.

How do you start a backstory?

Begin at the beginning of the character’s life. Create a backstory that includes key moments from the character’s childhood. Pick specific moments and events from childhood that are particular to the character. The childhood backstory should include experiences that are defining and significant to the character.



How long should a character backstory be?



How long should your backstory be? Aim to keep your backstory between 300-500 words. If you want to go the extra mile, add a shorter summary of under 300 characters so that you can quickly explain your character in a few sentences.

How much backstory is too much?

There’s too much if there’s more back story than current story. There’s too much if it interrupts multiple scenes or chapters in a row. There’s too much if one character dwells only on the past. There’s too much if every character has a flashback.

How do you reveal a backstory in a novel?

In a nutshell, the backstory is everything that has happened to your character before the novel begins. This can be revealed by: Exposition – simply telling the reader about the past. Flashbacks – where the reader is thrown back in time into the mind of the protagonist when the event occurred.

How do you reveal a character?

Characterization examples: 5 ways to reveal characters

  1. 1: Learn from rich direct characterization examples. …
  2. 2: Use subtler indirect character portrayal. …
  3. 3: Using dialogue to reveal characters’ personalities and interests. …
  4. 4: Show characters through their actions. …
  5. 5: Show readers your characters’ most private thoughts.


Is backstory same as flashback?

Flashback Versus Backstory



A flashback is told as an action scene. Backstory is the story that happens before your novel begins. Sometimes during the story, you need to inform the reader of something that happened earlier in a character’s life.

Are flashbacks good storytelling?

Using a flashback (or even a flashforward) can add suspense to a story or give us a greater understanding of what is going through a character’s head at a given time. Flashbacks need to reveal or illuminate something we need to know or something that pulls the story all together or progresses it forward.



What is an example of backstory?

For example, if your protagonist is a lost soul, then his backstory could be one of his family abandoning him in unusual circumstances during his childhood. Take for example the backstory of Huckleberry Finn, and thus his lack of decorum and stability in his story.

How do you write a traumatic backstory?

Show the characters processing their trauma and trying to resolve their issues. How do their brains connect the moment to reminders of the past? Give your characters a backstory, but don’t let the traumatic event dictate their entire lives. Real people never want to be defined by a single thing that happened.

How do you weave a backstory into a novel?

How to Weave Backstory Into Your Novel

  1. First Action, Then Back Story. First, show the break up. …
  2. Use Back Story to Slow Down Your Novel. One of the main reasons it’s generally not recommended that you provide a character’s back story too early is that it slows the novel. …
  3. The Reader Doesn’t Need to Know Everything You Do.


Does every character need a backstory?

Not every character needs a backstory. Many minor characters in fiction only need to appear consistent with their context and the purpose they have in the narrative.



How much backstory is too much?

There’s too much if there’s more back story than current story. There’s too much if it interrupts multiple scenes or chapters in a row. There’s too much if one character dwells only on the past. There’s too much if every character has a flashback.