So, I am playing in an Exalted game that meets every other week or so. It started up relatively recently. I don't really have the time for it, but I wanted to play in the game. So far, I've been having fun.
I have one strange problem with the game. The GM wants me to submit a character history. I find this to be a strange problem because this is usually the sort of thing I do automatically. I like to write down notes on characters in order to help myself flesh them out more fully. I've been finding myself increasingly resistant to this, though.
I think that this comes from my LARP (Live Action Role-Playing) days. I was (once upon a time) very involved with vampire LARPing (I was a clan coordinator for One World By Night for awhile, if that tells you anything). In LARPs, when you bring in a new character, it is entering into a very fleshed out social world. The sorts of backgrounds players wrote for their characters (which unsurprisingly tended toward ever-increasing badassedness) rarely meshed well with that world unless the player was familiar with it. Moreover, when the GM : Player ratio is about 1 : 20 (at best), little of your character's background is going to make it into the plot.
This never stopped people from trying - nor did it stop GM-types from recommending (or requiring) detailed backgrounds. I was as guilty of this as anyone, though I did make an effort to at least draw plot ideas from PC backgrounds.
In the five years or so since I've been in a vampire LARP, I've written a number of character backgrounds, but they've become shorter and shorter as time has gone on- now they rarely do more than sketch out major life events and relationships. They rarely detail anything that would count as an adventure that would have occurred before the game's beginning. I've begun to see the fundamental futility of the PC background. A character isn't the person described in a document written before play begins; a character is the person who is described through play.