I did something kinda fun today. See, I've been trying to figure out the backstory to a few of my tertiary and secondary characters. It's not necessarily important that the reader know about them right now, but I need to know so that I can have the characters act appropriately.
Now when I world build, I like to break things down logically. If I have a village in a fantasy story, I need to know how it came to be. What are the natural resources? Why did the village form in the first place? We can make some inferences if we look at a map. Where two or more roads converge, there's going to be travelers. With enough travelers, we can expect an inn to set up. With the inn is going to come houses for the workers and the stables. Once people start setting up there, it only makes sense a small market might form from a trader that decides not to keep moving. Then you need a farm to produce food for these people. Oh! And of course a church is going to set up shop to help the travelers with blessings and convert those from foreign lands.
If you look at the map, you can build a city just based on logical assumptions. So what I did today was take a character and do the same thing. I have one girl named Juliet Bellamy. She's an anti-demon specialist, very peppy, and has a shock of blue hair in her otherwise normal hair. Just based on her personality, the way she interacts with her comrades, her looks, and other things I've written about her, I can work backwards and come up with a history that leads to the woman we have before us.
It was actually REALLY fun! Wanna a give it a try? Take one of your characters? Don't have one? Grab a fictional character who's backstory isn't expounded upon from your favorite show or comic or whatever. Now look at them. Based on their appearance, what can you deduce? With Juliet, I can say that a woman, young, with a bubbly attitude and a blue stripe in her hair can lead to a few assumptions. It's doubtful her taste in music was centered around music like gospel or country. If she's outgoing now, she was probably outgoing in high school. Athletic? Questionable. Drama geek? Quite likely.
Bit by bit you can make these wonderful assumptions, these deductions, and build your character's backstory. Once you have a backstory, you can keep things consistent with their character. It's fantastic! Give it a try!
Until then, be excellent to each other!
Keep your eyes open for my debut novel, The Paladin.