WRITING TIPS: MAY 2018

CREATING CHARACTER BIOS FOR YOUR STORY

Here’s a tool that some writers may use and some others may not – writing character bios.

I usually write some kind of character bio for the main characters in a novel I’m working on. Some of my character bios are more detailed than others, some may consist of a paragraph, and others might run a page or more. I usually create the bios when I’m working on the outline. The bios I create are usually pretty simple: the character’s name, age, basic physical description, where they live now and where they grew up, what they do for a living, and usually a little bit about their past.

I don’t like to write every detail down about a character’s life and history because usually a character will change as I write the first draft, that character taking on a life of his or her own as I write, so I like to keep the bios pretty simple. There’s a magic that happens as you write the first draft that will cause you to stray a little from your outline and character bios as new ideas form and the story kind of takes over on its own. As I’ve said before, an outline (and a character bio) aren’t blueprints set in stone, but more like a vague idea of what the story is about before you begin the first draft.

If my bios are really simple, maybe a paragraph or two, then I will include them in  my outline, especially for minor characters. I recommend trying character bios while working on your outline, but as always, it’s up to you.

Hope this helps someone out there. Next month I will talk about building a world for your story. Also, at the end of the month, I’ll write a six month progress report for my writing goals in 2018.

Until next time . . .

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