April 14, 2022 I published the first part of this blog post series, on April 28, the second part followed. The third part was published May 26, 2022, part #4 was published July 11, 2022 and Part 5 you can read on here since July 25, 2022. This blog post series talks about the best part of telling a story. There are so many good parts, to me, each holds its own appeal. Let’s have a look at them again:
1. Drafting the plot
2. Finding a motive
3. Creating the protagonist and antagonist
4. Finding the perfect location
5. Thinking of plot twists
6. Create side characters
[7. Depending on the story, maybe even create a world]
Today we are talking about ‘creating side characters.’ That is a particularly difficult subject since I heard several opinions about them. Some readers told me: “I don’t like when a writer wastes so much time and energy on side characters instead of concentrating on the story. I don’t need to know that the waitress had an ‘ample bosom’, strawberry blond hair, and a seductive smile. I hear about her once in that entire book. Let her serve the wine and then disappear again. I want to know how the protagonist looks, feels, talks, plans… and acts.”
Others told me: “The story would have been far more vivid if the author had taken the time to describe the waitress. How was her smile, her eyes, her body? Was she attractive, and what impression did she make on the protagonist? Were there any thoughts about her? And so on… what’s wrong with describing a bit more?”
Of course, every writer is different, but generally, side characters are carrying the story in the book! They’re as important as the main character. They are the ones that challenge the protagonist to do what is necessary. They are the ones that make the main character interesting and steer him/her in a particular direction, be it thrilling, adventurous, rescuing, or defending… just to name a few examples.
Side characters (supporting characters), written right, can vitalize the story, and give it depth, or thrill. It is important to give our supporting characters their own voice and make them impressive individuals that have an impact on the protagonist and the story. Remarkable side characters can have different goals than the protagonist and add unexpected twists to our book.
To let them just walk in and out of a story seems to be disrespectful, comparable to Bond girls. They just show up, called Dee-Dee or BB, nice, cute, weak, need to be rescued – and disappear after they served their purpose.
We want more from our side characters. We want individuals with a strong will and a significant impact on the story. Vivid ‘minor’ characters are essential to our writing. Side characters are not supposed to be neglected. They not only should get some of our attendance, but they also need it, because they are a significant part of our story. Give them all the respect they deserve and honor their work by giving them strength!