Roleplaying: An Author’s Best Friend

I’m sure all you fellow authors out there know the nagging plot bunnies that bug you to figure out every character’s backstory. There reasons for why they act the way they do and so much more.

But sometimes, it’s just not important enough at the time that you need to think about it.

I mean, you have an idea about them, but you don’t know all of it.

Well, that’s what happened to me with about nine characters in the series I am working on. Characters that aren’t important for a couple of books yet. Characters I shouldn’t really need to worry about until said book comes along.

Characters that I have now gotten into thanks to a book roleplay I do with a fellow author. Which so happens to be the same author I owe this post to.

Said roleplay is the only place I get into these characters at the moment, but the more I work with them, the more I am figuring out for them.

Now thanks to a certain plot that came up out of a random conversation we had, I was presented with either figure out the rest of my character’s backstories or have them stay kids forever.

You see, what happened was a certain character decided to play a prank on the rest of them by using a spell (mind you this is all fantasy) to turn them into kids again. And they were only left with a riddle to figure out how to change back into their present selves. (Example is my character was twenty at the time, and was turned to her ten year old self.) Now the only way they could turn back after figuring out the riddle was to face their fears and realize who they were then, to find how they had become who they are now. Which involved telling their regrets and fears from the age they got turned back to.

Easy, right?

Not for all of them.

As I said though, unless I wanted to leave them as kids forever, I had to figure out those backstories quick. Which, surprisingly, wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. I knew the general personalities of said characters already, and I had a small idea on what some of the backstories would be.

What I found though was the stories just came. I didn’t have to think so much about them, they just kind of came out. From brain to fingers to keyboard on a spark of inspiration.

It helped me to figure out more about them and how they act, and more importantly why they act that way. I was suddenly able to get further in their head then I was able to before.

My only problem:

Now that I’ve gotten into their heads, I can’t seem to get back out. I suddenly want to sit here and write a short scene or novella or something that shows the experience to the backstories I just came up with. Which completely hinders me and puts me in the wrong direction of what I should be writing.

Which is the first book of the main character’s series of said characters that will come along much later.

The plot bunnies have gone wild again. Someone gave them fertility drugs and let them out of the pen on this one.

One thing is for sure, I’ve learned that roleplaying your stories and putting yourself in that character’s head with no possible way to control what the plot is doing really tells you a lot about their character. Not to mention it really helps you build an actual personality for them that is believable.

I think roleplaying might have become an author’s best friend.

Or, at least, this author’s best friend.