Character Backgrounds 101

After choosing the type of character you’re writing, you should start working on their background. A Character’s background defines who the character is or why they act the way they do.

A characters’ backstory must show why the character acts the way they do, why they have specific beliefs and how they deal with people. Most writers (I’m one of them) love to give their protagonists tragic backstories. While a tragic backstory is fun to experiment with and make your characters more understandable, it’s not necessary. Your character could have the happiest childhood ever but stumble upon something that changes their fate.

So the question is: How do you write a good backstory?

Step 1: Identify your character and their personality

There are two ways to go around this, either have your character personality and physical traits ready and craft their backstory based on it. Or come up with a backstory first, then build up their personality. I prefer doing it the first way, but every writer is different, what works for me might not necessarily work for you.

If you go with the first way, right down a list of your characters’ personality and physical traits then decided what situations could cause this. For example, one of my characters always has eye-bags which I then came up with the fact that he can’t sleep well due to past trauma.

Step 2: Choose a life-changing moment

Decide what moment in your character’s past changed them and made them the way they are today. Ask questions like:

  • What changed in your character’s past that changed the way they are?
  • How were they before said event?
  • What exactly happened in the event to change them or the way they think?
  • Did this point of change spark motivation, anger or resentment in your character?
  • If it weren’t for this event, would they have changed nonetheless or stayed the same?
  • Did this event change them for the better or worse?

Step 3: Avoid Info-dumping

Info-dumping is when you write a full paragraph talking about something instead of gradually showing it throughout the story. For the most part, you should avoid this as much as possible. Try showing small parts of your backstory or your character’s background through dialogue, flashbacks and actions. For example, if your character was abused in the past. Don’t just state it, show it through their actions. They could have an anxiety attack while witnessing something that reminds them of that abuse.

Thank you for reading, I hope this post was helpful, be sure to check out my social media links below!

Writer’s Block? Here’s How to Overcome it!

I’ve been suffering from writer’s block recently, so I thought this post could help many other writers going through the same. If you aren’t familiar with the term ‘writer’s block’, It is when you get a creative or motivation block which makes it hard to write. Today, I’ll be showing you ways to get over this stage and get back to writing.

1- Change up your schedule

Most times, writer’s block is caused by repeating the same routine over and over again. So try changing things up! If you write in the morning, try writing at night instead. If you write on your laptop, try brainstorming on a notebook. Make any change necessary to feel like it’s new experience instead of a constantly repeated one. If you write in your bedroom, switch up the environment and write somewhere else.

2- Do something physical

Sometimes moving around can get your creative juices to flow, so if you’ve been sitting by your laptop for a few hours, get up and go for a walk or do a short workout, it really helps!

3- Read

If you’ve been stuck in a writer’s block for many days or weeks now, try reading instead of writing. If you’re writing a romance novel, then read one for inspiration. I’ve been reading many mystery novels recently to gain back my motivation to write.

4- Journal/Stream of Consciousness

If you don’t know what stream of consciousness is, it’s basically when you journal without a prompt, you just write whatever comes to mind. Sometimes just writing what comes to your mind or writing about your day can help.

5- Listen to new music

Try switching up your music playlist, browse some new music, try listening to a different style, read lyrics from inspiration.

6- Force yourself to write

If all fails, you’re left with nothing but to force yourself. As much as forcing yourself to write won’t feel good, sometimes it’s the only way to get things done. You can always edit your draft later if you don’t like it, just write!

Hope you enjoyed this post, and I hope it helped you out! Check out my social media below for more tips on my instagram page. Thank you for reading!

When Should You Use a Pen Name?

As a Writer, you’ve probably heard about pen names before. If not, well a pen name, also known as a pseudonym, is a name your book/work is published under. You may be wondering, should I use a pen name? Well that’s entirely up to you! I’ll list some situations below on when to use one.

1- Privacy

Let’s say writing is just a side-thing for you, or maybe it is your main job but you don’t want it too caught up with your personal life, this is a perfect situation to use a pen name. However, keep in mind that publishers will still get your real name as you have to sign legal documents to publish.

2- Confusion

If your name is pretty basic or common, you might want to use a pen name since many other writers probably published under that name and you don’t want your readers to be confused. You can simply check if your name is used by other writers by going on Amazon or Google and typing it out.

3- Branding

The name displayed on your book plays a big role in branding. Is your name suitable for the genre you’re writing under? For example, if you’re writing a horror novel, you wouldn’t want the name displayed on your book to be too soft or innocent sounding. You may be wondering if a reader would actually care about the author’s name. Well from personal experience as a reader, I’ve realized that I’ve done it multiple times subconsciously. So choose a genre you typically write under and brainstorm pen names that suit it.

4- Simplicity

Having a super long and complicated name is cool and all, but as a reader, would you pronounce a writer’s name that is too hard to pronounce? The easier it is to read the better, because not only will people read it out loud more often but they will probably remember a simpler names over a complicated one. So if your name is too long or hard to pronounce, I’d suggest using a pseudonym. This doesn’t mean that your pen name can’t be unique, just make sure it’s memorable.

How to Choose a Good Pen Name:

1Research

You can use online name generators, or go to a top 100 names list and write down your favorites. This part is probably the most fun when it comes to pen names, so enjoy it! I created my pen name by taking the first two letters of my first name and the last two letters of my last name. There isn’t any right way to do it. You could also write down a list of names you already like and work based on that. Or you could rearrange the letters in your real name- although not everyone will get a good name using this method. (Use a Anagram Generator to make this easier)

2- Use it

Now to make sure no one takes the name you came up with, set up whatever social media account you use with that name. If you’re planning to keep a writer’s blog, create a domain, and if you’re ready to publish, do it!

Hope you enjoyed this post! Thank you for reading, make sure to check out my other posts to help you on your writing journey.

How to Create a Lovable Main Character

I’m sure we’ve all read books before, whether they’re 500-paged novels or short stories from Literature class. Most times if you like the main character, you will enjoy the story. However, if the main character is somehow annoying or never changes, readers wouldn’t want to reread the book or read any future sequels with that main character. So as a writer, you need to make sure that your main character is as lovable as possible, and I’ll teach you how to do that!

Step 1:

Give your character a good and detailed backstory. Why do they act the way they do? What motivates them to embark on their journey? How were they treated as kids? I go more in depth about that in another post.

Step 2:

Give them positive traits and negative ones, no one likes a perfect character. The more relatable the characters are to the reader, the more the reader enjoys reading about them. Make sure they develop throughout the story, unless they’re static characters. What do they learn? How do they change?

Step 3:

Make them understandable, a lovable character doesn’t necessarily have to be a good one! Lots of people like villains, chances are the author explained why that villain acts that way. As long as a reader can understand the character, they’ll love them way more. Like I mentioned in step 1, a proper backstory is a must!

Step 4:

An easy way to make sure your character is realistic is to base them off of real people, whether they’re your friends, family, enemies or celebrities. Real people have real backstories, real personalities, real lives. What makes someone interesting is when they’re not too predictable but not unpredictable in predictable situations. For example, your character just failed an exam and they’re a straight A’s student, most probably, they’ll be upset. But let’s say it’s a less common situation, for example, a character finds a dead body, that’s when an unpredictable reaction makes more sense. They could call the cops, they could run away and ignore it, they could investigate it, etc.

Step 5:

Give them unique traits, it could either be something physical like the way they look or the way they talk, or a hobby or a personality trait that sets them apart from their surroundings. For example, you could have a character that swears a lot, or a character that addresses people using ‘Love’. Every person talks differently, your characters are no different.

THINGS TO AVOID:

  • Don’t make your character perfect.
  • Don’t make them only have flaws, even if they’re a mean character, there must be some positive traits.
  • Avoid boring stereotypes.
  • Your character not learning from the same mistake.

Hope you enjoyed this post! Make sure to check out my social media accounts and other helpful writing tips on my blog, thank you for reading!

How to Start a Writer's Journal

A Writer’s Journal is a journal that keeps records of your ideas, inspiration, and thoughts for future reference. It helps enhance creativity when you have writer’s block or just don’t know what to write about.

Why you should use a Writer’s Journal:

  • Whenever you run out of ideas, you can go through the Journal.
  • Free of distraction that writing on devices could cause.
  • It’s fun!

How to choose a notebook:

  • Make sure the paper is thick enough for the pen to not bleed through.
  • The notebook can be big or small depending on your preference.
  • If you make lots of mistakes, it’s better to get a spiral notebook since it’s easier to tear out pages.
  • Get a hard cover for protection, if you’re planning to take your notebook everywhere.

Some notebook I personally tried and or heard about:

(Moleskine, Smythson, Leuchtturm)

Obviously, You don’t have to buy an expensive notebook, any good quality notebook will do! As long as it meets the description I mentioned above, it should be good to use.

So what can you write in a Writer’s Journal?

  • You can start by introducing who you are and why you write; this way, if you ever lose motivation to write you can see what makes you write in the first place.
  • Write about random conversations you overheard.
  • Ideas you get in the shower or before you sleep that you don’t want to forget.
  • Interesting stories that happened to you or someone you know.
  • Dreams or nightmares.
  • Practice describing any object or person in front of you.
  • Write new vocabulary you learned.
  • Write a sentence you like that you want to use later.
  • Inspiring quotes
  • You can even print out images and stick it in your journal!

If you end up starting a writer’s journal, I’d love to see it! You can share it with me on Instagram!

Character Development 101

What is Character Development?

Character development is the process of creating a fully rounded, complex, and believable character within your writing with the purpose of making readers interested in them and their journey.

Other than the plot, Characters will make or break your story. So making sure you give them good traits. In this blog series, we’re going to build strong characters from scratch!

The first thing you need to know is that there are four basic types of characters: Static, Dynamic, Flat, and Round.

Types of CharactersStaticDynamicFlatRound
DescriptionCharacter that stays the same throughout the whole story.A character that changes due to the events in the story. Usually a dynamic character is also a round character.A character we know very limited information about. A complex character we know a lot of information about.
ExampleDraco Malfoy from the Harry Potter SeriesHarry Potter, Ron Weasley and Hermoine Granger from the Harry Potter SeriesCrabbe and Goyle from the Harry Potter SeriesHermoine Granger from the Harry Potter series

Lots of people get confused between static and flat characters, so what’s the difference?

Static characters are characters that could be significant to the story but just don’t change at all, whereas flat characters can usually be described in one word like “Teacher” “Mean” “Considerate”, their personalities are not complex. Most flat characters are static but static characters aren’t necessarily flat. Flat characters still have to serve a role in moving the plot. Static characters can be the protagonist is a story and can play major roles, while flat characters can only play side roles. An example of a flat character is Elizabeth Proctor in The Crucible by Arthur Miller. While an example of a static character is Sherlock Holmes or Scar from The Lion King, They both play major roles yet their personalities don’t change/develop.

So now that you’ve determined what type of character your character is, it’s time to work on them and develop them accordingly.

How to write Dynamic Characters:

  • Make sure they have flaws, no person is perfect. Start by making a list of their traits, good and bad. Good traits: Patient, Loving, Considerate, Honest, Loyal, Respectful, Intelligent, Independent, etc. Bad traits: Arrogant, Bad-tempered, Bossy, Cruel, Dishonest, Forgetful, Hypocritical, Impolite, etc.
  • Give your characters preferences, have them have favorite foods, shows, books.
  • Give them dreams, goals and motivations. This is what keeps your story going, your characters should try to reach their goals, and you being the evil writer will make sure they’ll accomplish it in the hardest way ever.
  • Give your character a good backstory (history), You don’t have to reveal it all at once. It’s just easier to come up with character motivations and goals when you know their past.
  • Make them have enemies, weaknesses and fear. This could be other characters, mental illness, or phobias. Your characters need obstacles and conflicts for them to learn and grow.
  • Plan out how they’re going to change throughout the story, for example: His mother’s death caused character X to become distant, later on meeting character Y makes him social again. You have to know each event that causes your character to become either better or worse.

(We will get into each aspect in detail later on in future posts)

How to write Static Characters:

  • As we did with the Dynamic Characters, come up with the list of traits they have. But remember, these traits won’t change throughout the entire story, so make sure you’re satisfied with all of them.
  • Once again, give them preferences, dreams, motivations, weaknesses, and a backstory.
  • DON’T forget that these traits won’t change at all, make sure you like everything (and if you want to change anything later on, it’s not a big deal as long as your story is still a draft, so don’t get too stressed over this)

How to write Round Characters:

  • Round characters are like Dynamic characters except for one thing, they don’t need to change throughout the story, they can be round and static or round and dynamic, whatever you prefer! As long as the readers know a lot about them, they’re considered Round characters.
  • So like the Dynamic characters, write down the character’s strength and weaknesses, their motivations, their backstory, their likes and dislikes and anything you know about them.

How to write Flat Characters:

  • A Flat character is usually a character that readers don’t know much about and they usually just serve to keep the plot going.
  • So choose your character’s purpose in the story, how do they help the plot line?

Questions to help develop characters:

  • What’s their backstory? How does it affect their motivations?
  • What’s their full name?
  • What’s their nationality?
  • What are some of their hobbies?
  • What are their strengths?
  • What are their weaknesses?
  • What their deepest secret?
  • What’s their biggest dream?
  • What’s their biggest fear?
  • Do they have any medical conditions or mental illnesses?
  • Favorite food?
  • Favorite color?
  • Favorite show?
  • Favorite book?

You can download some worksheets I created to help you with the types of characters! I’ll put the link below! I’d greatly appreciate it if you could support me on my Ko-fi account, and thank you for reading this post, hope it helped!

link: https://ko-fi.com/album/Character-Development-Types-of-Character-sheets-C0C21I47G

10 Must-have Apps for Writers

As Writers, we need to be able to make time to write, have our work backed up and have a platform to share them. Here are some apps that are very helpful for Writers:

1- Google Docs:

This app is useful for writers who want to share their documents with other people, if you have a writing partner this app is very helpful! You can both edit the document and work together. You can also log into your account from any device and have all your work there.

  • It’s free
  • Available on both IOS and Android
  • Available on all devices, including desktops

2- Google Keep:

Like Google Docs, my favorite part about this app is how you can log in from different devices and still have all of your notes! You can make checklists, to-do lists or just write notes. As a writer, it will be much easier to accomplish goals and write down notes and ideas for your stories.

  • It’s free
  • Available on IOS and Android
  • Available on all devices

3- Google Calendar:

This app is helpful to schedule your writing sessions and set reminders to get up and write! It’s especially useful if you get distracted and need to schedule hours for writing.

  • It’s free
  • Available on IOS and Android
  • Available on all devices

4- Forest:

If you procrastinate a lot, well this is the app for you! This app stops you from using your phone and you can set the amount of time you want to be productive for.

  • It’s free on android but costs $1.99 on IOS
  • It’s available on both IOS and Android
  • Can be an add-on on Chrome

5- Grammarly:

This add-on is perfect since it fixes typos and suggests better grammar structure.

  • It’s free but you can pay for the premium version
  • Can be added as a Chrome add-on

6- Wattpad:

This is probably one of the biggest writing platforms in the internet! You can share your work, grow an audience, get feedback, make friends, and more! If you’ve been writing for a while, you can turn your books into Paid ones, meaning readers have to pay to read. You can also read lots of free and interesting books there.

  • Free
  • Available on both IOS and Android
  • Good way to get your writing out there!

7- Instagram:

I’m sure you already know Instagram and probably already have it, but have you ever thought about how useful it can be to you as a writer? As the writing community has been growing online, Instagram has become a useful social media for writers! You can follow many hashtags like #writingtips or #writingprompts to get ideas and motivation, you can also share your work there!

  • Free
  • Easy to start an account on
  • Available on Android and IOS

8- PicsArt:

This app is useful for anyone who wants to create their own book cover without using photoshop or illustrator; since they’re expensive. Obviously it’s not as good as them, but it’s very helpful if you’re a new writer and just need a book cover for Wattpad.

  • Free but has in-app purchases
  • Available on both IOS and Android
  • Easy to use

9- Canva:

Like PicsArt, this app is useful for anyone wanting to create their own book covers without expensive editing apps, it also has many templates to edit if you’re not great with editing.

  • Free but has in-app purchases
  • Available on both IOS and Android
  • Has templates, making it easy to use

10- Scrivener:

I haven’t personally used the app, but I’ve heard lots of good things about it. It’s a useful app for writers who want to write on the go without having to a lug a laptop with them wherever they go. It’s especially useful if you’re writing something long like a manuscript or a novel.

  • Costs $19 on IOS
  • Not available on Android

How Can You Gain Readers?

As writers, we obviously want active readers who enjoy our work and comment on it. But how can we grow such an audience?

1- Read other people’s work

A good way to gain a new reader and possibly a new friend is by reading other writers’ work and commenting on them, or giving them constructive criticism. However, don’t just comment stuff without actually meaning it. It definitely shows. Comment something genuine and useful for the writer to grow. This way you’re an active part of the writing community and most writers really appreciate when someone comments on their work and gives them tips to improve. Who knows, they might read your work and comment back.

2- Update frequently

This tip only applies to people who publish their work a chapter at a time, like most Wattpad users for example. If you publish your work one chapter at a time, make sure to do it frequently, since readers probably won’t wait for a book that gets updated once every few month no matter how well-written it is. They will probably move on and start reading something else. However, don’t update too frequently to give readers some time to get excited. You could also create a posting schedule and tell your readers about it; that way readers know when to expect the next update.

3- Promote your work the right way

This one can be a double-sided sword, promoting your work can really help grow an audience but it should be done the right way, don’t promote your work anywhere and all the time, it can really annoy people and make them uninterested in your book. Here are some good ways to promote:

  • Talk about your book in the right place, like writing clubs and clubs on Wattpad that are meant for talking about your book.
  • Don’t talk about your book in random Youtube or Instagram comment sections, this can really turn a person off.
  • You could join Writers’ Café discord server and promote your work in the self-promo section!

4- Reply to comments

You obviously don’t have to reply to every comment you get, but try replying to any comment you like or a comment that gave you constructive criticism, and thank them for taking the time to comment. This makes readers feel like they’re closer to you as a person and it also makes other readers want to comment.

5- Have an attractive book cover

We all know the famous saying “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” Sadly, most readers will do that, so take some time to create a good book cover or pay someone to do it for you.

6- Add a good title and story description

Other than the book cover, a good title and story description is what grabs readers attention next. Make your title short and catchy. Your story description should explain what your book is about without revealing way too much. It should make the readers excited to know more.

Thank you for reading this post! Hope you enjoyed! Check below from my social media links!