Tag: backstory

Narrative Techniques Series: #3 Backstory

Narrative Techniques Series: #3 Backstory

Do you have ever heard about this third Narrative Technique, the Backstory? I am sure you do.

Think about the sentence which often begins with a “…years ago”. This sentence concerns the way to give more information about the past of a character or a story. The Backstory technique aims to provide more intensity and depth to a narration. There are many movies and books which include this proper narrative technique: the Backstory.

Using the narrative technique of the Backstory, you can choose to tell a story without any breaks or use this technique to make the whole story more vivid and intense.

What is the Narrative Technique of Backstory?

This narrative technique is kind of a window into the past of our characters. With the background technique, the reader can better understand the behavior of the protagonist or others. The narrative technique of the Backstory gives the chance to travel through past experiences and life stories and then keep going on the current narration with a different perspective about a character.

Every one of us in our life, after all, has passed difficulties or barriers that change the path and attitude to face things. The past has a significant role in everyone’s life. It is the place where we come from and our story. That is the reason why the narrative technique of the backstory is so important and valuable.

Understand a character also mean knowing his/her fears, even the deepest ones.

“We do not have to be ashamed of what we are. As sentient beings, we have wonderful backgrounds. These backgrounds may not be particularly enlightened or peaceful, or intelligent. Nevertheless, we have soil good enough to cultivate; we can plant anything in it.”

Chögyam Trungpa

How to use the Backstory Narrative Technique?

There are different ways to use this technique.

The first one is the flashback. It has to be a short but intense break in the narration and used at different times during the story. In general, the public likes flashbacks because it makes the story more dynamic by creating an extra level of narration. Therefore, usually, it hides some unforeseen plot twist.

The second one is the prologue. It is like a flashback but only introduces at the beginning of a story. Here we don’t have the same surprise effect as in the flashback technique, but the reader can learn a lot of information about the characters and the story itself.

The digression is another helpful instrument to realize the narrative technique of the backstory. In the digression, the writer makes a little break to explain better a scene, an environment, or a particular character’s attitude.

Finally, you can resort to the first-person narrative or the third-person one.

With the first-person narration, the writer tells a story, an event, speaking about the past. In this case, the writer is personally involved in the narration and uses his voice to give more details. Using the second option, the third-person narrative, the writer chooses a third person, outside the story, who can narrate and know everything.

Write your story with the narrative technique of the Backstory and bibisco novel writing software

Writing your novel is quite a complicated task. Fortunately, bibisco has some valuable tools which will make it easier for you to create your story and get to know your characters in depth.

Narrative Techniques Series: #3 backstory - 
bibisco's main character section -
bibisco blog | useful resources by your novel writing software
bibisco’s main character section


Why deciding to use the backstory narrative technique in your novel? Because this technique can add meaning to your story and enrich it with details.

The reader could get their idea about the characters and the narration by reading more information given through the backstory narrative technique. It also can be a useful element to make the narration more vivid and amaze your public.

The life of your characters before the story’s beginning

The life of your characters before the story’s beginning

“When Martina first noticed Paolo walking down the pavement, she couldn’t believe her eyes. Never in her imagination, she thought about meeting Paolo in such an ordinary circumstance.”

Let’s say it is the beginning of a story. What is Martina going to do next? Aren’t Martina’s past encounters with Paolo would shape her behaviors today?

It surely would because the way all of us humans live the day is the result of our way of being and of our experiences right up to that point.

That’s why backstory is so important for your characters, for them to be humans.

The backstory is what happened to your character before the story began

Getting back to our story, who is this Martina? How old is she? How does she know Paolo? Are they friendly to each other? How does Martina greet someone?

These little details may or may not feature in your story.

But whatever happened to your characters for them to come to this opening point of your story is what an author should find out in the character’s backstory.

It’s the personal history of your characters, a fundamental step in the process of character development.

It is a great tool for the author, as it can hugely benefit in understanding your characters – their fears, inner and outer lives, motivations, etc.

Backstory impacts a character’s behavior and adds depth to the story

Whether it happened yesterday or a long time ago, different events shape a person’s life, and thus, could be included in your character’s backstory.

The richer the character’s backgrounds are, the more depth you would get into your story.

These details would also help you differentiate one character from the other with distinctive actions and dialogues.

Your responsibility as a writer is to give the characters’ human forms and personalities by pulling out significant details from their life history.

Some of these important life events could be:

  • The time, date, and place of birth.
  • Family orientations and the relationships with each other.
  • Personality type, skills and talents.
  • Educational background, profession, passion and hobbies.
  • Current and past relationship status.
  • Political affiliation, spiritual life, life views and goals.
  • Anger triggers, goals, joys, fears, etc.
  • Friends and acquaintances.
  • Biggest failures, successes, tragedies.

So, immerse yourself into your characters and fill their lives with incidents and events. Let your imagination flow and visualize their childhood, their love life, their biggest support and such in the context of your story.

For example, if you know the relationship between Martina and Paolo; you would be able to design how they speak or respond to each other authentically.

It doesn’t matter if in your novel will be shown only one day of the life of our characters: the way they will live that day, every single gesture, will be the result of their way of being and experiences lived before the story’s beginning.

You can utilize novel writing software to create rich backstories

Sketching out the life of your character can easily get a little complicated due to the amount of information you could get. Considering that bibisco, our advanced novel writing software, comes with a fully-featured character’s dashboard.

The life of your characters before the story's beginning - bibisco character's dashboard
bibisco blog | useful resources by your novel writing software
bibisco character’s dashboard

With elaborate questionnaires regarding the character’s personal data, physical features, behaviors, attitudes, psychology, conflict, evolution, and so on; it challenges the author to think all the minutest details of the character’s life.

The life of your characters before the story's beginning - bibisco character's interview
bibisco blog | useful resources by your novel writing software
bibisco character’s interview

Intuitive, playful and easily accessible, bibisco keeps the authors motivated and interested to know more and more about their character’s life.


The importance of creating the life of your characters before the story’s beginning can’t be stressed enough. It makes them multi-dimensional, and in turn, makes the story memorable.

As bibisco comes featured with the most detailed dashboard to spell out the backstories of a character, it is now simpler than ever to add depth to your novels.