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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Writing About: A Character’s Past Life

In one of my unpublished works I tackled one of my heroine’s past lives and it was an amazing experience. I loved showing her in a different light and used her past life to explain things (such as relationships) in her current life.

There are many ways to go about writing a character’s past life (aka reincarnation), so I’m going to give you a list of things to keep in mind or to try.

1.    You should establish a current life for your character before you explore his/her past life (or lives). It’s the only way to make their past life significant.

2.    Your character’s past life should be different from their current life. My heroine was a foster child and widely hated, but in her past life she had a happy home with a biological parent and was loved by everyone.

3.    Use your character’s past life as a way to provide explanations to why his/her current life is the way it is.

4.    Introduce your other characters in different roles in your MC’s past life. This was fun for me to do because I got to change up the relationships and deviate from the norm awhile.

5.    Give your character a slightly different personality. A past life changes everything, including peoples' personalities, so try giving your character a quality they don’t possess in their current life.

In my book, my heroine is a tough crime fighter. In her past life, she’s more gentle. There’s even a moment when she confesses she could never be a kickass woman. 

6.    Change your character’s appearance. Even if you don’t want to drastically change his/her race or gender, even if you want him/her exactly the same, you could still mix things up. Maybe you can give your character a different hair color. If he/she is normally pale, give him/her a tan. The little things count.

7.    Let your character do things he/she would never do in their current life. This gives you the opportunity to have fun! My heroine wore jeans, t-shirts and boots religiously, but in her past life she was girly and wore short skirts.

8.    Add symbolism to your character’s past life. I had fun slipping clues into my story and couldn’t stop myself from wondering if readers would catch it and link it to my heroine’s current life. 

You can use the past life as the integral part of a story line or you can try one of these options:

9.    Use the past life as a prologue before start your character’s story in his/her current lifetime.

10.     Bring the past life into play half-way through the story. Doing this will let you use the past life to change your MC’s current life, which could influence the end of the story.

There are many ways you can introduce a past life into your book. You can do it as a dream, vision or have your character actually go back in time.

As I always say . . . “It’s your book, it’s up to you!”

QUESTIONS: Do you believe in past lives (reincarnation)?
If you do, what do you think you were in your past life (or lives)?

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