Developing the main character of a story can be interesting and challenging. It gives the writer a chance to research and walk in the shoes of someone else whose life may be very different. Along the way, a minor character may be introduced for the sake of progressing the story, and possibly to give depth to the shining star. But should it stop there?
K.M. Pohlkamp gives us something to think on when writing about minor characters.
As Constantin Stanislavski once stated, “There are no small actors, only small parts.”
This adage transfers to writing as well. One of my favorite pieces of writing advice is to consider that a supporting/minor character may think the novel is actually about them.
This is certainly not the case for every side character, but the imagery of the thought helps me develop minor characters in an interesting way. They have their own strengths and weaknesses, their own motivations and baggage. The supporting character may believe their dialogue is the most important and that their actions drive the plot.
My advice: Allow your supporting characters to make bold choices and statements. Let them have their moment, and then move the spotlight.
However, maturing supporting characters is more challenging than the protagonist. The author simply has less words in which to develop their persona. Therefore, each appearance of the character needs to be considered to further the…
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