Taking It From the Beginning – Part 3

The hero – As I’ve said, I am a tried and true pantser. I will sometimes start a book without doing any back story for my characters. For me, it’s an ideal way to get to know them. I start writing knowing that my first draft will not be my last.

I’ve already written a couple of pages without doing a back story for my hero. That is his background, his origins. After meeting my hero, Kurt (through my heroine, Quinn’s eyes), I’ll go back and give him some meat. A very quick, very general background story for Kurt.

Kurt has been a fighter all of his life. Scrapping for food on the streets while his mother used drugs and alcohol. She died when he was young and he went to live with his two uncles, Ron and Bobby. Ron was an ex-navy seal, he taught Kurt what he needed to fight and survive. Kurt was a natural. A charmer, a con. Deadly with his hands. And weapons. His uncle taught him about weapons…just in case, he would say. Kurt didn’t know much about his uncle Bob. When he was 18, he got his first taste of the supernatural. He saved another boy from a vampire, he accidentally put a stake through the vampires heart. The kid followed him home, 16 year old Joseph Taylor. We’ll talk about secondary characters in a future blog. But right now, for Kurt’s background, know that Joe and Kurt became close friends, depending on each other, watching each other’s back.

When Kurt told his navy seal uncle about the vampire and Joe, Ron became angry and started drinking heavily. When the vampire’s coven attacked the house for revenge, they killed his Uncle Ron and it was, surprisingly, his Uncle Bob who killed them. He taught Kurt and Joe everything he knew about vampires and how to kill them.

Now they fight vampires and any other evil thing they come across. Oh, one more thing should be said about Kurt. About five years before the story takes place, when Kurt was 25, cocky and overconfident, he fell in love with a woman, Laura McKenzie. He kept her in the dark about what he did. The vampires he was hunting tracked her down, tortured her and changed her.

So, that’s a rough background for Kurt. I can add more later or switch things around or change things. This was off the top of my head. Kurt is a fighter. He’s tough. He’s been hurt in the past and believes that all vampires are bad, evil to the core, killers.

This is a good start for Kurt. I know him pretty well, but there are certainly secrets lurking inside of Kurt for me to discover as I get to know him better.

There are numerous character background sheets on the web, if you like to use that sort of thing. Here’s a pretty good one for characters – http://users.wirefire.com/tritt/tip8.html

Next time, we’ll talk about the heroine.

6 Responses to “Taking It From the Beginning – Part 3

  • I thought I was a pantser but quickly discovered I’m a linear plotter. I usually do journal entries from my hero’s pov before I begin writing his story.

    • Renee, journal entries are a great way to get to know your character. Backstory will also help develop who he/she is.

  • Laurel, I’m a pantser too. I start every story out with an idea- either for a character or a scene- and then I run with it NaNoWriMo style. Then I’m ready for plotting and several more drafts.

    • Hi Alexa. Isn’t it funny how every writers writing style is so different? As different as say, personalities! 🙂 I love being a pantser and allowing my characters to “live” and work out the conflict for themselves. They often surprise me!

  • Laurel, I’m a pantser up to a point, but I have the story sort of all worked out in my head before I begin–and I usually have a several-page ‘synopsis’ of how I think it will all progress. Of course, it never does. As I write, the story takes different routes. I ran on to that early outline for my second book recently and thought–that sounds like a good story. Too bad I didn’t write it LOL.

    So glad to find your site, BTW. I love medievals. I write in that broad time period too. Can’t wait to read yours!

    • Hi Barb. Medievals are a great time period for action and drama. Who can resist a knight in shining armor? I usually know what’s going to happen about two chapters away from where I’m at so that I’m not locked down plot wise. Just general goals to accomplish, really.