Thursday, August 04, 2011

Time for bios

I totally believe in writing backstory and substantial character bios, but I can't seem to write them until I've delved into the story a bit. I write the plot ahead of time, but I like to discover the characters as I go. Eventually I'll hit a wall, and I need to stop everything and establish who the people are.

That was today. One of my characters learns that another character is not who she claims to be, so he asks the antagonist, "Who is she really?" and the antagonist says "She's my sister."

And I sat back in my chair and kind of went Huh. I had no idea they were related until it came out of his mouth, and once I knew that, their whole relationship brought on a new significance. It fit completely with everything they'd said to each other so far, but it was much cooler.

So the next scene I tried to have two characters talk but it didn't feel real. That's when I know I have to stop and do bios. I've had this breakthrough - that lets me develop something more fully, but I need to stop writing for a day or so and establish who these people are. Then I will go back through the 33 pages I've written and rewrite them to accommodate these new developments.

For some reason, this is the way that works best for me. Since I started doing these bios, I already realized some things that will make writing the rest of this story much easier, but these are things I never would have realized had I not started writing first. I don't think I would have realized the brother sister thing if I had planned it out first.

Writing is weird.


  1. Anonymous6:51 AM

    Writing bios imo is a waste of time. Script ex-experts told me to do as if they know it all but got no golden pot to s****** in.

    Just get into the head of you characters.

    When the writer created the JOKER , was there a bio?

    Do no listen to those script books and teachers, just write it like an artist. BREAK THE RULES.


  2. I'm not doing bios because a script guru told me to. I'm doing them because after a decade of trial and error, I've discovered how well they work for me in writing a better script.

  3. Please Leave Name4:20 PM

    Actually, Tia, when the "writer" (either Bill Finger or Jerry Robinson, but definitely not Bob Kane) created the persona of the Joker character he did indeed create a bio...

    So, umm... maybe next time you'll have your facts straight before talking out of your ass. Just a thought.

    Real writers work in whatever way they need to do the best work possible. Your mileage may very.

  4. Anonymous7:27 AM

    "When the writer created the JOKER , was there a bio?"

    Good question Tia.

    Who knows?

    All those Marvel and DC characters were created by creative "geniuses".
    Maybe they had a BIO for each characters. In reality, they are REALLY true geniuses and write and create how they wish. I doubt if they were listening to some script consultant.

    But they would be listening to Emily -Bamboo Killer. One of the best blog around. Bamboo Killer - great name btw.

  5. Anonymous9:57 AM

    Just read some of your past posts. Fabulous opinions and advice. Liking it. You're the female Gordon Ramsay of SCRIPT blogs. Neato.

    Power to all the female screenwriters.

    Let's kick ass.

    We are unstoppable.

  6. So did your brother/sisters act like brother/sister all along except that you (the writer) weren't consciously aware of that fact that or did they only start to act that way after you thought of them that way?

  7. They were behaving like two people with an ax to grind against each other, which does happen to fit a sibling mentality.


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