One of my favorite parts* of writing is starting a new project. I love the thrill of endless possibilities, I love the rush of new ideas, I love the potential. But most of all, I love developing the characters, the plot, and the backstory.
I love backstory. Yes, I know it ought not always be included in the actual plot, but it is my favorite thing to develop. Why, you might ask? Because it all leads to the present. It’s a twisty, turny path from the beginning of a character’s story (which in my opinion always begins with their ancestors) to get to where the character is interesting.
A couple weeks ago, I was at the beginning of working on my new YA project (title in progress). It takes place in Minnesota (though I might change that to Iowa) so it’s a little different than what I typically write, but it is still technically fantasy. One of the first things I did was develop the main characters. And then, I made the family tree.
Yes, I get a little carried away. (At least this isn’t the one where I color-coded the different generations!) I like to know where my characters come from. The past is important in shaping who they are, and almost always has an impact on the plot (at least in my stories). Beyond the family tree, I like to have a family history – where they came from, when major events happened, and even some idea of the lives of many of the ancestors.
Maybe I take it too far, but I love the part of history that deals with people. The people are what make any story, fact or fiction, interesting and that is why I take the time to learn the history of a story before I start writing.
What’s your favorite part of the writing process? How involved do you get in creating backstory?
Take care, fellow travelers!
*My other favorite part is, of course, finishing a draft.
- Story Building- Character then Plot? (shadowflame1974.wordpress.com)