How to: Write a biography (and make it interesting)
While the plot and the storyline of your RP are important, the characters are the heart of your game. Without them, nothing can move forward and your story can not come to life. So it is important that your biographies have a lot of time and work put into them. Here is a guide on things to think about when writing bios to help them to be the best they can be and the most playable and desirable characters for your game.
For starters, never write a biography half ass. Don’t write a bio just to say “I need to get the Holland Roden fc posted.” If you don’t have the inspiration for a character, or are spooning your eyes out at the thought of writing that particular bio, wait a bit. Come back to it later. Do something you are inspired to do because inspiration comes forward in your writing and people reading them will notice if a bio is simply thrown together or boring.
Now the important parts of a bio:
Identity stuff: (Name/age/ect)
So this is probably where you should start. Give your character a name and an age. Age is important to determine first because it’ll help you write how long they have been graduated, or what year of school they’re in, or at what point in their life things happened. Age plays a huge factor in where the character is in their life (obviously) so it’s important to pin that down first. If you need help with that, please take a look at my guide HERE on how to properly determine the age of your character (based on their fc)
When considering your character’s name, you can either completely draw a name out of a hat (which is totally acceptable) or you can try to think about it more. Things to consider may be your character’s nationality, your character’s religious beliefs/that of their parents, symbolism, your character’s heritage, their parents lifestyle and personalities. For example, a more traditional family may give their children more traditional names. More creative/expressive parents may name their kids something that fits that bill. Families that are from other countries may name their children a popular name from that country, ect. However, not all parents do that. Sometimes parents just like a name for no real reason. So you don’t always have to have a specific reason. Baby name websites are the best and they’re your friends. I definitely suggest using them. All you need is a simple google search and you’ll have tons.
When I write bios I like to give them a kind of timeline. I don’t like splitting them into separate sections, officially, but I sort of do in my head. (Not that there’s anything wrong with sections it’s just not my way of doing things). So start with the backstory. Where your character has been is very important to who they are and where they are going. Did they grow up with two parents? Did they attend college? Do they have siblings? Where did they grow up? Was their childhood stable? Things like that are all important to think about. If you don’t include those things, your players will fill in those blanks. That can be both good and bad. They may do things you didn’t want with the character, or they could bring a new life to the character you wouldn’t have thought of. So it’s up to you how specific or not specific to be with that.
How’d they get here:
This is part of the bio that I think varies depending on the RP, but for most, consider it where you include the conflict. If your first section was the introduction to the character and their history, then here is where you would talk about what they’re doing now, or how they got to where they are. If your RP takes place at a school or on a cruise ship or something, explain what that character thinks of where they are, how they act towards the people around them, and things like that.
Conflict is the driving force of storytelling. Without it, your plots won’t move and character develop won’t happen. Even if your plot has a conflict as a whole, give each character their own, individual conflict no matter how small. Give them something to work through. If you give them a particular want or desire, make something stand in their way of getting it. If their life seems ideal now, maybe there is something from before that wasn’t that they have to work through. Maybe they’re a really nice person on the outside but really hate a particular group of people. The possibilities are endless, but definitely needed. A good writer is going to look for a character to develop. They’re going to look for the chance to build something and really write it. Give them the tools for that. That will attract people to a bio.
These don’t really require too too much attention in yoru bio, but including something like the character being interested in dance, or really wanting to one day fall in love, are all small quirks that make them human, they add more depth to them and help make each more individual.
Some people like to include a separate section for this. That’s fine. I prefer not to. I like to make the personality of the character evident throughout the bio based on the things that happened and the description. Including sentences such as “though most found him to be fairly attractive, Eric always felt out of place around girls.” That tells your reader that the character is a little insecure or awkward without having to list traits out and say them. Because traits are different on every person, personality can be different depending on the situation. However, personality is important. You could write a whole biography for a character that had a terrible past but is meant to be a hardened bully now and if you don’t say that, someone could make them really soft or afraid. So be clear on what the personality is, regardless of how you include it.
While you may not have a specific connections section on your bio template, it’s important to give your character connections. These can be people within the roleplay, or even a connection to a cause, or a particular event, or a group, something that is going to give them purpose within the plot.
Now that we’ve discussed the actual content of your bios, let’s talk about writing them. The most important thing to keep in mind when you’re writing a bio is “would I want to play this?” even if it isn’t a character that is a type of character you like, if you read a bio and think “wow this person is boring” you should probably write it differently. If you read a bio and think “this character has no depth” then you should write it differently.
Secondly, think of bio writing as writing a story. Each biography is one character’s story. Tell it like a story, write it as though you’re writing a short work of fiction about that character. Bio writing does not have to be systematic and blunt and to the point. Use nice language, treat it like storytelling and tell that character’s story so that the bio is interesting and captivating.
I hope you found all of this helpful. If there’s any more you think I should add or if you have any further questions, please let me know.