Posted in Writing

Backstory Development

Hello!  I have let my writing slide for several weeks now.  Granted, I’ve been busy with the house hunt.  But when I don’t write, I feel… guilty.  I also feel empty.  Like there is a piece of me that’s missing.  So I recognize that I have this Need to write.

I’ve had a WIP for several years.  You may have seen me mention it here and there in posts.  I’ve started this book over from scratch 3 TIMES!!   I actually think that I may start it from scratch again.  ….sigh.   I know, crazy.  Right?

What keeps me coming back to this same story is the Meat of it.  The Heart of it.  THAT is the story worth telling here.  The rest of it is all crap.

The Backstory.

I read articles about character development.  I’ve read that if you don’t care about your characters, no one else will either.  If their lives are not interesting, why will anyone want to read your book?  If I’m reading along and the story bores me, I put the book down!  I may or may not pick it up again.

So here are my questions:  How do you develop the backstory of your characters?  Do you have a process in place that you use?  Any help or suggestions would be appreciated!  ❤ ❤ ❤  

Thanks, as always, for the help, support, and love I received from each of you! Penny 



Penny Wilson is a freelance writer who writes in several genres. She has written articles for WOW Women on Writing. Her poetry has been published in online journals, such as Ariel Chart, Spill Words Press and the Poppy Road Review. Penny is a member of the Austin Poetry Society. Her poetry has been featured in the publication America's Emerging Poets 2018 & 2019 by Z Publishing, Poets Quarterly and Dual Coast Magazine published by Prolific Press. You can find more of her writings on her blog at and follow her on Twitter @pennywilson123.

9 thoughts on “Backstory Development

  1. I don’t have any particular process. I make a rough outline, but I let the characters tell me things. I may jot down something and feel it’s not right. I’ll let sit a day or two while I continue writing. I had one story where my character had to walk down a dark road because the street light was out. It was a story I wrote years ago, but never sent it off for publication. I pulled it out and started tweaking it. Turns out, my character had a fear of darkness. I didn’t know that when I first wrote her. The characters often do their own thing which interferes with the outline I made!


  2. I have a character bio questionnaire I fill out. 10 – 12 questions that really cements things for me. After that, I can’t hold it back. I’m loaded with goodies! ❤


  3. No special process to creating character backstory here–I don’t even start knowing any of their backstory (since then I’m too tempted to dump a bunch in!). Find a compelling problem for a character you feel strongly about and put them through their paces trying to solve that problem and come out the other side–that’s my advice. Their backstory will seep in, as you push them forward, but try not to look back. Also, as someone who started her historical novel over a bunch of times, I recommend not doing that, but just pushing forward so you have the whole story of the novel out. Then, in the stages of revision, you can look hard at your novel opening and perhaps change again. If the “meat” is worthy and compelling enough that you keep returning to it, just push forward. I can’t wait to hear how it comes out!


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