Stories do not focus on the regular, daily life of a character. They are about external change in a character’s life that splits from the mundane.
It is an action that happens to a character that shakes up his world; does not have to be a huge event: a bad day at work, a troubling phone call received on a drive home, the news that one’s mother is getting married again.
Character Explication: Do not try to cover a character’s entire life: a year, a week, a day, even an hour. You can start on the first day of spring and end on the last day of summer. However, we still have to have an understanding of where the character comes from.
Give an example of a story that covers a short amount of time but has a lot of things happen to the main character in that time.
Where did your character “come from”? In other words, what was this character like at the start of the story?
What was the character like at the end of the story? How did the character get to this point?
Characters are defined in thefirst third of a story because it is essential for readers to understand and interpret a story. Ex: It would be a less powerful story if we didn’t understand that the narrator’s identity is bound up in her appearance, and then on the first page, her beauty is taken away. Show us that her beauty is important to her first, and then show us what happens when it is taken away from her in the exposition. The rest of the story will focus on what happens to her after this life-changing problem occurred.
Ways to include character history in your story:
Flashback: Complete scenes dramatizing past events
Exposition: Narrator explains the history of a character’s life
Dialogue: A character’s past and personality is revealed.