How to Dissect Your Characters for Stunning Stories: A History

How you doing, Write Lifers!?!

So this is my second installment on characterization that I am presenting on Howlietzer, and I think it is just one step above the last post I wrote.

What you need to know about your character before you write, while you’re writing, and even after you write about them is their history.

I don’t think you should spend pages agonizing about these details, but I have several questions you should consider:

What has happened to your character by the beginning of the story?

How old is your character? What happened before this story takes place? Why do they wear their clothes the way they do? Why do they act the way they act? What happened to them to bring them to the present moment in your story?

Once you’ve given some decent thought to the questions written in the previous post, you should be able to come to some conclusions about their past and vice versa. 

Their past influenced their present just like it does for all people.

How were they raised?

What were their parents like? Did they have parents? Who was the most influential person in their life? Good or bad, the people in your character’s life shaped who they are in the present.

Are those people still around? How does your character feel about them?

What did your character do before the present?

Were they a kid in school? Did they have a job that they loved or hated? Did they have a hobby that took up a lot of their time? 

Has anything changed from those days? Do they still do the things they used to do?

What were their interests?

Understanding these things will help you when writing your character. Do a couple of writing exercises to help you get inside their heads and understand what life was like in the past for them.

Again, I can’t emphasize enough that these are suggestions, but I also see them as valuable concepts to understand when writing your story. 

Do you need all the answers right away?


Writing is a process that is never perfect the first time through. You may discover these on the 2nd draft or the 4th. Keep writing and experimenting to figure out the most essential information you want to know and want your reader to know about your characters.

I hope this was helpful. Please like and subscribe so you can read the next couple of posts that will pertain to this topic. And also, comment your ideas on characterization and tips you have in learning who your characters are.


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