History is very important to everyone. The history of the world has formed how we currently live. When developing both settings and characters, it is important to create a back-story. Do you have to share any of it with the readers? Nope! Sometimes, a back story to your story is so drawn out, it should be embarrassing for you to even reveal it to the populace, and should stay in your mind only! (*cough* Star Wars prequels *cough*)
Part of life, is learning about your friends past lives. However, when you meet someone, do you sit down and tell each other your entire past right off the bat? Usually not! Al though I know some who do… Anyways, your characters shouldn’t either.
Things to think about when developing your characters back story are: their childhood, relations with friends and family, work, hobbies, interests, faith, beliefs, religion, where they grew up, and where and when they have lived.
In my script I’m currently working on, I have a character named Paul, who’s 70 years old, and emigrated from Romania in his 20s or 30s (yet to be determined.) In researching that time period of Romania, I learned quite a few things about Paul. First, he grew up with a communistic government, with religious officials being taken to concentration camps. Since, Paul would have attended the Romanian Orthodox Church during his childhood and teenage years while this persecution was happening, how did this shape his view of government, religion, and God? My research has told me a lot of stuff about this character I hadn’t know before, and will help in deciding what actions he will take during the part of his story that’s shown on screen.
As always, a lot of my theatre training helps in working on characters. Later today, I’m going to be giving my theatre students an exercise in character development, which anyone can use for their own work. The assignment is: where were you right before the play starts? By figuring out why they are where they are, will help in bringing realistic performances.
Have a good day you all!