Back-Story

Back-Story

A Lesson by joseffthered
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How to build a human.

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             Today I’ll be discussing character back-story and exploring the true nature of a man/woman; Digging deep into the human psyche to understand how character and personality is built.  Last lesson I told you about empathy and visualization to help give you the physical manifestation of your character, but truth be told, this manifestation is but a hollow shell that must be filled with a history.  I find it best not to let readers in on too much of this history because it tends to dilute the mystery of a character.  The history of a human begins with a conflict, nurture vs. nature.

 

            The first thing to think about is who the parents of your character were.  Where were they from?  What sort of culture and values were they instilled with?  How much attention, or the lack there of, did they give to your character?  These questions are important in the beginning years of the character’s life and really set the groundwork of his/her personality traits/disorders.  

 

            After these first five or six years of life, environment becomes a more influential aspect of life.  Where did your character grow up?  Was his family rich/middle class/poor?  Who were his/her friends?  Tragedies? Triumphs?  All of these factors become catalysts that either exacerbate or repress the personality traits/disorders from his/her childhood. 

 

            Sometimes, through the teenage/young adult years, the psyche or the person themselves will notice these traits/disorders and can, subconsciously or consciously, over compensate to try to correct and mold their personality into what they want it to be.  This can cause many internal conflicts which can easily become external by spilling emotions caused by self-loathing onto an external target.

 

            This is the formula to build you a human from the age of around 25- to around 50.  Personally, since I’m a male, I find it difficult to write a really deep female character.  Female psyches are exponentially more complex than the male’s.  I constantly try to psycho-analyze females but most that I know are debilitatingly over defensive.  I wonder if that is a normal trait for females, and if it is, why?  So, for homework, I would like everyone to think up two characters, one male, one female, and post them in the comments with a brief description of them.

 

Thank you, any questions or comments leave them and I will address them in the next lesson.   



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Posted 4 Years Ago


I know you posted this article/course a while ago, but I am finding it very helpful.

Recently, I started planning out a novella and, having only written the Prologue so far, I've already spent three months on it (yet, that's just planning time). While most that I'm crafting out - the history of how the world became how it is then, the family trees, the history of the companies - will not be outright said, some of it will be mentioned and I want the characters' emotions regarding those events to be - to feel - real.
Your descriptions on how much events can change one's personality at certain intervals of life are very detailed and accurate. Thank you.

Now that's funny, because it's the opposite for me! I'm a female and I have trouble writing from a man's POV. Most that I've read in novels, short stories, and et cetera, from a man's point of view have so... different, I guess, of a thought process, that I don't even know how to put myself into that for a prolonged period of time. At most, I can write a short interlude from a male's POV. Odd, isn't it?
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Added on March 27, 2011
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joseffthered
joseffthered

KY



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