Skip to main content

Forums » RP Discussion » need help on history

Hi! I don't do very well when it comes to desciptions and background info of my oc's so if anyone could give me tips on how to make them fit their profile I would love it and Thank you!
I haven't fully figured out descriptions yet myself but backgrounds can be created in a variety of ways. A simple way is by considering your own background. How has your personal life events made you the person you are today? The same applies to your characters. If you know their personality you can work backwards.

Example: a character is always kind to others. Why is that? Is it naturally them? Were they raised to be kind? Maybe they've suffered under unkindness their whole life so have chosen to be kind so no one else suffers like they have?

Whatever the choice, you can then ask yourself " What event encouraged or created that trait?"

Example: let's say they've had a harsh life. Were they bullied? Perhaps nothing worked for them and nobody offered help when they needed it? Or something like they were a slave to a harsh master? There are many options.

Experiment: This fits nicely with what I mentioned. Take known or imaginative life events and create a list of what sounds cool to you. Mix and match until you have a history you like. Anything listed you decide doesn't fit later, toss it out. Risk to this is a history could start off confusing and messy.

Character Links: If you have a history for a character the one you're working on is linked to, ( friend, family, etc ) you can use that history to build a new one.

Example: Murzim's history was built off Niju's. Since he knew her, I needed to figure out how he would meet her ( saving her from the military ), Why he would bother to help this wanted girl ( He knows the truth and is another rogue vessel ), and what is his role in the Stellar Vessel project. ( experiment, overseer, or something else ) There were more questions but it's the gist.

Roleplay: I have characters who don't have histories either. It's ok to leave it empty and put your characters into rps. Something might show up and inspire a history idea.

I've seen some players set up multiple histories for a single character too. It's a good way to set up a character for multiple genres and scenarios. Could be good to put down ideas and decide later too.

If I recall, Winters Fury posted a forum with lots of good writing tips. One of them was how to write good backstories. Forgot where that was though...sorry.
Some things you gotta start with are the basics. What do they look like, for starters. I find that starting with appearance is best when you're making a common, modern everyday character, but if you're doing fantasy and the lot, sometimes personality, history, and species works best. Because this personality and history can make these specific characters look a certain way. Granted, that can work with regular characters too, but if you want a generic everyday high school girl for example, it may affect more the style of clothes she wears of the extracurricular activities she does.

So other than this appearance, you can also base personality off of this. Maybe the character has red hair, so they are a feisty, fun loving, and maybe short tempered character, and sometimes blonde, wavy hair can lead to either the stereotypes of the rich kid or maybe even the shy one. It all depends on what you like. And, of course, you can mix it up and surprise the audience (I do this a lot), and maybe make a girl who wears all black and looks scary and intimidation, but she is actually really bubbly and nice and simply likes the color black. And, you can do this as the opposite, maybe one who wears tons of pink and bright colors but they're actually really dark, edgy, and scary. I did this with my character, Fonni, who is 5'3, blonde, and looks sweet and innocent but she could break your neck if she wanted to.

History, on the other hand, can either be built before or after personality, but I think writing the history beforehand is beneficial, because it can shape and mold the personality before you officially write it down. Say there is this boy who was a rich and spoiled as a child and that turned him into a selfish man who thinks the world revolves around him and him only.

Sometimes, history, too, can be based off of where your character lives, or their ethnicity or nationality. Of course, I mean culture, like someone who lives in Japan might look that way and have a history of such, but maybe there are also characters who are different from others in this way and have to find a way to fit in, realizing soon after they don't have to fit in and it doesn't matter where they're from because we're all human anyway.

Hobbies are good, too. You can do random hobbies for your characters that just sound cool, but background history can come into play too. For example (I know I give a lot of examples), maybe this kid's father is a famous musician, so they try to play or write music as well. Or maybe the character has problems in life and their only way to escape is through art. However, on the other side of the spectrum, hobbies can be bad, like maybe someone was raised under strict rules and rebelled, resulting in their bad habits and maybe even make them unsuccessful or result in the downfall in their life. History of being a child is really important for this reason, as how they were raised always should come into play with who they are.
LunarValravn wrote:
If I recall, Winters Fury posted a forum with lots of good writing tips. One of them was how to write good backstories. Forgot where that was though...sorry.
Winter’s Writing Tips ... it’s in there somewhere.

Good tips there LunarValravn and AliRevellian.

I myself tend to develop my characters and their backstories a couple of ways. One is working backwards where I create the character shell for a certain RP and they have a vague backstory and such that I add to it along the way as thoughts come to me on them.

The other way is working forwards where the character is created and has a very detailed history background as I had a certain background in mind. I then use them in specific RPs and write their current story going forward. A couple of my characters began the first way and developed later the second way.

The biggest obstacle I’ve found in writing background history and such is overthinking it. I then seem to have a sort of ‘thought-paralysis’ come over me and have to set them aside until the next time inspiration for them comes to me.
Really good suggestions so far! So much so that I'll probably steal some of the tips for myself too!

Something that I did unintentionally but that has been working well for me was creating the setting of Lost Oak as a character page. It was a place that fit as many of the genres I enjoy and was the kind of setting that I would adore to read a series about. As I started populating it, I tried to come up with realistic ways the residents would interact with each other and why. This turned into many of them getting their own little plot lines and some getting along while others didn't. Then I answered a Looking for RP ad that sounded fun but didn't fit a character I had. In talking with the ad poster I realized that one of the residents matched what they were looking for. So I moved her over to her own page, copied what I already had, then filled in the missing bits and was rewarded with a full character.

So now I just jot down my ideas as residents in the town and sort of fill them in slowly as ideas come to me or I browse ads. Then will move them over to full pages once they "graduate". So far it has really worked for me!

The other way for me is due to how visual of a person I am. I will try and find a handful of images that fit the one in my head for the character as closely as possible. Then I will sort of build up the character from there. Asking things like: Why do they wear the clothes they wear? What has given them this expression in this image? Would I approach this person in real life? Why or Why not? Then spin those answers out into appropriate backstory or goals or whatever the case may be and add the relevant images to the character page.

Those are just what have worked for me!


Hope it helps!


XOXO
Cassie

You are on: Forums » RP Discussion » need help on history

Moderators: MadRatBird, Cass, Dragonfire, Heimdall, Ben, Darth_Angelus