As of this morning, I’d been working on character profiles and backstories for about two weeks. I was done. I was beyond done.
I do very in-depth character profiles. I’ll leave a link to a PDF for anyone else who wants to torture themselves (adapted from WritersWrite.com). It’s at least two pages if you print it out. It used to fit neatly on one page front and back, but then I imported it as a template in my writing program and added even more stuff.
Go big or go home.
The great thing with such an in-depth profile is that it forces you to flesh out your characters. It doesn’t *necessarily* get into backstory like “What’s their worst memory?” but it gives you a lot of fuel for developing backstory. You’ll have ideas pop in your head like how they dress and what would embarrass them. Then you’ll find yourself asking, “Why?”
That can help you develop their backstory!
I do these profiles for almost every character. If they have more than a passing interaction with my main character, they get a profile. I don’t always answer every question – I tend to skip more questions for the characters who only get a handful of lines – but I challenge myself to do as much as possible. It keeps my background characters from just being flat pawns or tropes. However, I don’t answer the “What does this character want/What misbelief is standing in their way?” question for more than the main character, the villain, and maybe a few of their closest supporting characters. That is a hard dichotomy to come up with.
But after two weeks of wringing out my brain to do these profiles and then do even more in depth backstory work for main characters, supporting characters, and the nation they live in? I. Was. Done.
Stick a fork in me.
I still have two more items on my backstory to do list, but I decided to give myself a break by switching things up. So, I started working on outlining, quality checking, and anchoring scenes to make sure everything echoed back to my character’s inner struggle. Oh man, did I get fired up! I was buzzing!
It was definitely the right choice.
Tonight my guys are visiting Nana and Grandpa, which means I’ll have a quiet house to myself for a few hours. You’d better believe I’ll be working on more scene planning! I’m so excited! You know you made the right choice when you’re excited to work in the evening after working all day!
So, if you’re feeling blah and your brain feels wrung out, see if you can switch up the writing task you’re working on.
Stir the fire a bit.
Get a little oxygen in those embers and breathe new life in that fire!