As a writer, it is important to create a protagonist who is believable and relatable to the reader. To do this, it is crucial to understand the character’s backstory and motivations, as they drive the decisions they make when faced with conflict. Understanding the character’s beliefs, values, and fears can make their struggles more concrete and affecting. In this blog post, we will discuss the connection between motivation and backstory, and how it can help you create a more authentic protagonist.
The importance of beliefs
A character’s beliefs are the foundation of his or her motivation. Not just religious beliefs, but also the inner values and ideas they hold. The character’s beliefs should be explored throughout the story, building up to a crisis point where they are tested or challenged. This crisis point could occur at any point in the story when a conflict arises.
To create a relatable protagonist, it is important to understand the beliefs they hold and why they hold them. For example, if your protagonist believes he or she is unworthy of love, you need to reveal the incident(s) that caused him or her to hold this belief. Discovering and overcoming these beliefs is often the heart of a character arc.
The Importance of Values
Values are essential to creating a character’s motivation. When faced with conflict, a protagonist will make decisions based on his or her values. Understanding your character’s values will add depth to their motivation and make their actions more believable.
For example, let’s say your protagonist’s primary value is freedom. In the climax of the story, you might put them in a situation where they are forced to choose between their freedom and another important value, such as loyalty. This choice should be natural, reflecting their values and the character’s development.
The Importance of Familiar Backgrounds
A character’s upbringing and social environment shape his or her worldview. To create a believable character, it is important to understand the character’s family background, as well as their friends and acquaintances. How the characters are shaped by their past will affect the choices they make when challenges arise.
Knowing your character’s family dynamics and how their upbringing has influenced them will give you insight when writing their backstory. By understanding the character’s family background, you can understand what motivates your protagonist and use those motivations to create a compelling story.
The Importance of Fears
Like beliefs and values, our fears are part of what motivates us. A character’s fear will either get in the way of their goal, or if they can overcome it, their goals will be all the more satisfying to the reader. The meaning of the fear goes back to the character’s past. By understanding where the character’s fears come from, you can complicate and intensify the story’s conflict.
For example, suppose your protagonist has a fear of being confined, whether physically or emotionally. In this case, this fear could be traced back to their childhood. Later in the story, when they encounter a situation in which they are trapped, their escape from it will carry much more weight with the reader.
Creating a believable and authentic character is essential to any story. By understanding your protagonist’s background, beliefs, values, and fears, you can create a character that people will care about. Understanding the character’s backstory can also add depth and complexity to the story itself, creating a more compelling plot. In conclusion, developing a character who is relatable and authentic is critical to creating a story that readers will love.