In order to understand a character, a reader should know why that character is the way he is, and this is where the backstory comes in. Even in real life, there is no black and white, and few people are irredeemable. Even the evilest individual has something in his life that can make him seem more real and more human, if not more sympathetic (an explanation is NOT an excuse), and no hero doesn’t have a skeleton or two in the closet, even Steve Rogers (I can’t think of any, but I’m sure he does).
Life experiences make us who we are, and the same is true for your character. That doesn’t mean he can’t be despicable. You want your reader to be glad your character gets what he deserves, whether it’s happily ever after or shot and beaten to death by rebels and getting sodomized with a bayonet while pleading for his life (not my concept–look it up). Or just sent to prison if you work for Disney. But if they don’t know why that character grew to be the person he is, they won’t be as invested in the outcome.
Oh, no, it’s the “DREAM CAST” article! Yep, it sure is.
Every character I have ever created, all the way back to my first story as a child, was based in some way on someone I could see and watch. Some are based on people I know in real life, but I also use celebrities or fictional characters from TV, movies, and videogames–and to be honest, a handful of professional wrestlers. The reason I do this is simple. I’m a visual person, and having someone or something to look at helps me write. In addition, it’s easy to people watch when they’re plastered all over every screen in the world. I use some people for their faces, others for their personalities, and others simply for the way they move, and one character might be based on three different people.
I came upon this article by modji-33 on DeviantArt and wanted to share it. It is incredibly important for anybody who writes fanfiction. As a beta reader, I’m especially fond of Number 3. I can’t stress enough how important it is for a writer to proofread his or her work! I hope you enjoy the article, and that you take something valuable away from it.