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Backstory

Started by Ice January 6th, 2016 12:23 PM
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  • 24 replies

Foxrally

Age 21
Male
a Torterra's back
Seen 4 Days Ago
Posted October 10th, 2019
2,584 posts
6.7 Years
Most of my characters have pretty defined backstories. It's not that I don't enjoy slowly unraveling them, I just prefer having a set history to work with and reference when I'm writing. I've always made the history pretty open though, in case I need to add anything as improv in the middle of the RP. In the end, it all comes down to each character, really.
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Junier

Fake Friends Forever (´・ω・`)

Female
Seen 3 Days Ago
Posted August 3rd, 2018
984 posts
4.5 Years
Nine times out of ten, I strongly prefer establishing the finer details of my character's history as I play. I only really flesh out a history when forced to. Personally though, I stronger prefer delving more into a history while playing and am not fond of whenever a roleplay requires a thorough background from the get-go. Just a brief paragraph that includes the essential info is all that's necessary, I find.

Sweet Dreams

are made of these~

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Seen January 23rd, 2018
Posted January 3rd, 2018
703 posts
11.9 Years
Sometimes it depends on the RP I'm signing up for; some RPs lend themselves to more experienced and/or dramatic characters, and for those characters I tend to have more set events that may have happened in the past but write them in vaguer terms to allow for flexibility and drama~

Most of my characters tend to come from very day-to-day backgrounds however, with little that has happened to affect them one way or another. For these characters I describe in fuller detail about their parents and home lives in a fairly methodical way. I find that these characters are the ones with most potential to grow since they don't have to drag the burden of a convoluted past around with them. xD

I always have a fairly firm grasp on where my characters come from, however, because knowing a character's motivations for why they are how they are makes them feel a lot more real to me.



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FireSnow

Show me that Fighting Spirit

Age 23
Male
Ambrette Town, Kalos
Seen September 11th, 2019
Posted June 7th, 2019
2,630 posts
4.3 Years
I prefer more to have things be pretty open, that way if i want to add something to my characters mid-roleplay, i can. I feel locked in when i have to have a thorough backstory, really forces me to stay on a track that has no turns and veer-offs.

I like to just give enough background information necessary, to explain at the lowest level, who a character is without handcuffing him/her to that background, allowing growth and a bit of mystery, if i feel like having some. :)

Retro Bug

Seen July 18th, 2016
Posted May 27th, 2016
1,176 posts
11.4 Years
I really, really, really enjoyed people who put thought and effort into their character's backstory.

I like to have my characters developed but not too developed because there's things that happen in the roleplay that I might want to adjust to. If you have this completely drawn out, concrete backstory then I feel like that can make you miss out on some of the experience. So, I like to have an idea of the backstory, but shape it more as the RP goes on.

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jombii

Crobat is ProBat

Male
Philippines
Seen June 28th, 2019
Posted April 13th, 2019
3,414 posts
5.5 Years
I like it better when my characters already have fleshed out histories. They are much easier to work with than "mysterious characters with dark pasts." Blank slates that you will write as the story goes on are much prone to mistakes and plot holes.

Quest

Veteran Roleplayer

Male
Seen October 22nd, 2019
Posted June 24th, 2018
983 posts
10.5 Years
A person's characteristics are developed throughout life and the same should go for any character. I enjoy having fleshed out histories and personalities. It shows that the creator put time and effort into their character, but also shows that they aren't just there.

Of course, your character still needs to develop some within the RP as they need to adjust to certain events. It is important to know that there is a line that your character passes when they are too fleshed out. It traps the character in a spot where they simply can't grow.
// Bae'd to Kikpanther //

Shak

Male
UK
Seen 15 Hours Ago
Posted 2 Weeks Ago
893 posts
4.9 Years
I think plan is probably the wrong word for me. I usually have loads of ideas, then allow the plot to drag my character where they should be at the time. Whatever idea fits best given the events that have occurred in the story so far. A good example of that would be my Gunpowder character, Achilles. I originally intended to have him go after Aeternum's character, Jeb, since he thought he was in custody of the girl he was trying to save. Instead, I got intrigued by the idea of doing my first proper JP and ended up JPing with SGAFS(Aqua/Estrello) which instead lead me into a whole new arc with my character. Looking back, I'm pretty happy with how things turned out, since Achilles' redemptive arc has made him much more enjoyable to write. So in short, I make plans, but I'm very flexible about them



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jombii

Crobat is ProBat

Male
Philippines
Seen June 28th, 2019
Posted April 13th, 2019
3,414 posts
5.5 Years
I think plan is probably the wrong word for me. I usually have loads of ideas, then allow the plot to drag my character where they should be at the time. Whatever idea fits best given the events that have occurred in the story so far. A good example of that would be my Gunpowder character, Achilles. I originally intended to have him go after Aeternum's character, Jeb, since he thought he was in custody of the girl he was trying to save. Instead, I got intrigued by the idea of doing my first proper JP and ended up JPing with SGAFS(Aqua/Estrello) which instead lead me into a whole new arc with my character. Looking back, I'm pretty happy with how things turned out, since Achilles' redemptive arc has made him much more enjoyable to write. So in short, I make plans, but I'm very flexible about them
Well, a character that grows with the story is a sign of a well-created character. Nobody wants to stay stagnant in an RP environment. I pretty much use my backstory to see how my character should react to the happenings in an RP. And if change is needed, they my character needs to adapt or else I will be forced to write badly.

Kikpanther

Not a beginner that's for sure

Female
Louisiana
Seen June 26th, 2018
Posted June 24th, 2018
671 posts
10.7 Years
Histories for me are kind of things I make up as I go. When I do try and think up a quality history (not just one I threw out there because I didn't want to write the history (which happens a lot)) I usually intertwine it with the personality. Sure, we're all born with specific traits, but the people we are now are shaped by our past.

If I feel like there is a reason behind a character trait I think up why that may be and put it in the history. Something may have happened to create/encourage/discourage certain behavior and habits in a character. Histories can be a great source for character depth and future development.

Other than that I don't put too much effort in making them. I feel like histories rarely have something in them SO important to the character that it must be written out or really thought about unless the character is particularly motivated by their past. I guess there might have been an event that really makes what the character is today, but if it's a bad personality trait 9/10 it's a generic backstory. If it's something good there is very rarely anything written that's really "man i would have never understood this character if I didn't read THAT" level. I typically don't read people's histories (assuming I read their SU) and if I'm GMing something I'd really only require it to check and see if the RPer isn't going to do something outlandish with their character more-so than me really being interested in anyone's backstories. :P

Long story short I care more about a character during an RP than after.
Anya Odile // Bae'd to Quest // The Frozen Gate

Astronaut

space adventure

Non-binary
Online now
Posted 12 Minutes Ago
33,367 posts
12.1 Years
In general, I mostly just care about the history part and the personality parts of a SU matching up well. If you're going to write out a well thought out backstory, you better have your character actually reflect it as well. When I write SUs myself, I usually type up history before personality. That's easier than the other way around, imo.

But I also can understand RPs like Trumpets who make backstory an optional part of the SU. If you come up with a personality you really enjoy playing as, you can actually develop the backstory over the course of the RP and find ways to stick it in with the plot even. Several times, I've seen my extravagant backstories fall aside simply because they weren't integrated into the RPs plot well enough to be relevant...

jombii

Crobat is ProBat

Male
Philippines
Seen June 28th, 2019
Posted April 13th, 2019
3,414 posts
5.5 Years
In general, I mostly just care about the history part and the personality parts of a SU matching up well. If you're going to write out a well thought out backstory, you better have your character actually reflect it as well. When I write SUs myself, I usually type up history before personality. That's easier than the other way around, imo.

But I also can understand RPs like Trumpets who make backstory an optional part of the SU. If you come up with a personality you really enjoy playing as, you can actually develop the backstory over the course of the RP and find ways to stick it in with the plot even. Several times, I've seen my extravagant backstories fall aside simply because they weren't integrated into the RPs plot well enough to be relevant...
As GM of said RP, for me History is not a very crucial part in Pokemon journey RPs as most of these rely primarily on the personality as the story progresses. Also, most of the characters are young people trying out their first shot at Pokemon training so there really is nothing to tell from their past except their childhood. I ask some people to explain more if there is something unclear from their SU, though. Like some dark past or something.

long story shorty, for me Journey RPs are creating a character's history.

aeternum

Not Suitable For All Ages

Indiana
Seen 47 Minutes Ago
Posted July 18th, 2019
13,229 posts
6.7 Years
I prefer to go through their history as the rp continues because if not I'll sit and write an entire book about their life from the time they could walk until the beginning of the rp. and nobody wants that. I did that for a d20 i was in because our skills were based on our backstory, and i wrote 30 pages of backstory for one character front and back, basically going through each and every year of his life. i think we can agree in most things that it's much better to explore your history throughout the rp. and also that way you can decide once you've played a little bit if you want to keep certain things the way they are or not instead of forcing yourself to stick to your guns because you put every little detail in your su.

Loki

x

Tokyo, Japan
Seen November 25th, 2018
Posted July 14th, 2016
6,846 posts
14.3 Years
In the past I used to decide every tiny detail about a character's past-- write it all out and have literally walls of history. But as time has gone by, I much prefer leaving a character's past almost entirely bare bones, and filling in the details based on what I can think of as their character develops throughout the RP, and so that I can always feel free to insert other players' characters as potentially having been involved in my characters' history should the opportunity to arrange such a thing arise. Even when I do decide concrete things about a character, I will try to limit what I write to details that the character themselves would be willing to share with any other character in the RP before any deep understandings are established. I just think it's more interesting to reveal-- and sometimes decide, details like that as time goes on and you learn more about your character and the ones around them. /ok stops spamming replies to these threads hahaha

Jay

R I S E

Age 22
Male
Ireland
Seen 3 Weeks Ago
Posted April 7th, 2019
766 posts
4.7 Years
People know I write a lot, backstory is usually no exception but it's really on a character by character/RP by RP basis. Depending on who I'm writing and where the level of backstory required in my opinion varies.

For a lore heavy, intricate RP like Venice, I love having a character with a rich history whom is still open for further development as well (Rowin) while in something like a journey RP, I always tend to prefer a little less backstory and a little more story based character development. (Ryker)

Nagi

Age 25
Female
home
Seen October 18th, 2016
Posted October 10th, 2016
997 posts
5.2 Years
i don't really understand how one can develop a character's history during the RP? unless you mean character development, but isn't that an entirely different matter? it sounds kind of backwards to write up a character's history to suit their development in the RP, i think. i usually have at least a good idea of my characters' origins, family and life events before starting to write, if any. that's not to say i make really elaborate backstories either though... it's usually no more than a basic family setting, unless i'm going for something specific (like in Railways), so they usually still have plenty of room to grow.
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Loki

x

Tokyo, Japan
Seen November 25th, 2018
Posted July 14th, 2016
6,846 posts
14.3 Years
i don't really understand how one can develop a character's history during the RP? unless you mean character development, but isn't that an entirely different matter? it sounds kind of backwards to write up a character's history to suit their development in the RP, i think. i usually have at least a good idea of my characters' origins, family and life events before starting to write, if any. that's not to say i make really elaborate backstories either though... it's usually no more than a basic family setting, unless i'm going for something specific (like in Railways), so they usually still have plenty of room to grow.
I suppose it's not really developing a character's history so much as deciding it after the RP has already started. Of course, you have to decide some barebone things like where they're from and stuff like that but... For example by not specifying, or thinking about it explicitly beforehand, I can throw in that a character's parents are dead or alive when the subject comes up IC, depending on what feels better. Or they might have had some kind of traumatic encounter with this or that as a child if I feel like it. They might be secretly filthy rich-- or filthy poor, and the subject may just have never come up. I give them a personality and that's basically all I decide before I go off into the big wide world. I decide things as I the RP moves along, based on what kind of characters are around mine, and what kind of background would most support the kind of person I end up RPing the character as.

I don't always do it this way-- but I've done it once before with interesting results so I've been trying it more frequently nowadays.

Nagi

Age 25
Female
home
Seen October 18th, 2016
Posted October 10th, 2016
997 posts
5.2 Years
I suppose it's not really developing a character's history so much as deciding it after the RP has already started. Of course, you have to decide some barebone things like where they're from and stuff like that but... For example by not specifying, or thinking about it explicitly beforehand, I can throw in that a character's parents are dead or alive when the subject comes up IC, depending on what feels better. Or they might have had some kind of traumatic encounter with this or that as a child if I feel like it. They might be secretly filthy rich-- or filthy poor, and the subject may just have never come up. I give them a personality and that's basically all I decide before I go off into the big wide world. I decide things as I the RP moves along, based on what kind of characters are around mine, and what kind of background would most support the kind of person I end up RPing the character as.

I don't always do it this way-- but I've done it once before with interesting results so I've been trying it more frequently nowadays.
i see... that's actually quite an interesting way of looking at it. rather than making sure your character acts appropriate to the predetermined history, you would leave blanks in their history in your mind and fill them in as you see fit, to ideally fit the character as you end up writing it. i might try that with one of my characters sometime... although i think i'd be afraid of seeming inconsistent, haha. i think i use the history as a strong defining factor for my character's personality, and if that isn't set in stone i might not be as secure in my portrayal of said character.
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i'm so t i r e d

Loki

x

Tokyo, Japan
Seen November 25th, 2018
Posted July 14th, 2016
6,846 posts
14.3 Years
i see... that's actually quite an interesting way of looking at it. rather than making sure your character acts appropriate to the predetermined history, you would leave blanks in their history in your mind and fill them in as you see fit, to ideally fit the character as you end up writing it. i might try that with one of my characters sometime... although i think i'd be afraid of seeming inconsistent, haha. i think i use the history as a strong defining factor for my character's personality, and if that isn't set in stone i might not be as secure in my portrayal of said character.
That's definitely the weakness, in that you don't have an anchor for their personality-- like there's nothing that causes their behavior to be the way it is, yet. But I mean- the character can always be a very good at faking their reactions for a reason to be decided later too LOL! "How far can you BS your way through the RP" is how I would refer to this method ; ) It's definitely interesting haha but going full blank on a character's history is not something I do every time that's for sure.

Jauntier

Where was your antennas again?

Male
USA
Seen April 6th, 2018
Posted December 23rd, 2017
661 posts
4.3 Years
As I see it, a role-play takes place in the present and moves onward, so my focus and interest is in developing my character through interaction and introspection. Oftentimes people write a terribly detailed history for their character and it is rarely or sometimes never referenced from that point on. It gets treated as something that has happened in the past, and thus stays there. Seems like a waste and a hassle, so as for me, I will write a minimal history for my characters, unless the role-play I'm in relies heavily on things like lineage, relations with famous or otherwise very important persons, a specialized occupation that would require a more rounded explanation, or is one of those "help me get my memories back" stories where it's essential to the plot.

I don't need to write a complete history to justify my character's personality and actions. It's like when you meet a stranger for the first time and you notice their quirks and behavior. You do not know anything else about that person save what they present to you themselves. That's the kind of development I like: blind.

Some people say that they want to see a history because it's the applicant's writing sample. Recounting a list of events, to me, is about as helpful to understanding one's writing ability as reading the synopsis of a biopic. If you want a writing sample, ask for an excerpt involving the character doing something related to the plot of the story. Most people will write you a post in the form of a prologue. I think that's the best way to go about it.

Hexoc

Azumarill Lover

Male
Around the Gulf of Mexico
Seen February 19th, 2016
Posted February 8th, 2016
68 posts
4.3 Years
I would have to say I'm somewhere inbetween.

If the character I'm building has a truly traumatic event in his past(typically does for some reason) I like to have his history focus on that event and it effects on the character. If this trauma is fairly recent based on the character's age, I tend to prefer other past events as the RP progresses.

If the character would be classified as a "villian", I tend to leave the backstory as vague as possible and unveil it as the RP progresses.

Sometimes I'll mix things up and be a bit "random" with the history, despite set events I would prefer. I don't mean just make up events that make no sense, I mean unveil some events that could explain actions in the backstory, and reveal others in the RP.
Fear the wrath of Marie, the Avenging Azumarill
Current Activties: Various Challenge runs and RPs, Master Difficulty run of Shin Megami Tensei IV
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