Tag Archive - secondary characters

The Importance of Secondary Characters in Your Novel

Creating a cast of characters is a challenge for novelists. It’s a balance. You need just the right number of characters in just the right roles, and if you have too many, it’s clutter. Too few and your story is narrow and skimpy, possibly not reflecting real life. A protagonist that has no friends, doesn’t engage with coworkers, never talks to family, and doesn’t really go anywhere other than one or two locales (home, coffee shop, office) isn’t a believable character.

This is where secondary characters come into play. They require just as much forethought in their creation as primary characters.

Secondary characters are important to your story but don’t hold as major a role in your story as primary ones.

Don’t get too tied in knots over categorizing every character. The boundary line between primary and secondary characters is blurry. It’s not uncommon to see secondary and even incidental characters have POV scenes—it depends on the story.

For instance, the opening of a mystery might be in an unnamed killer’s POV for just that one scene. In a sense, you might think of that killer as an incidental character if there are few, if any, moments with that character. The novel might be entirely about the investigation, and maybe the killer is found dead himself by the climax of the novel. Continue Reading…

5 Tips to Writing Secondary Characters That Pop

Today’s guest post is by author Jennifer Probst.

Secondary characters have always been important to readers in fiction and serve an important purpose for the writer.

I’ve always been a fan of the sassy best friend; the sarcastic sidekick to the hero creating a perfect bromance; the wise, funny matriarch bestowing valued advice. These characters add depth and dimension to story, hook readers, and lead them to do the most important task of all: buy your next book.

Introducing a secondary character who has no purpose and fails to win readers’ hearts is a missed opportunity to grow your readership. But how do you create these vibrant characters without watching them become flimsy paper dolls with no real personality or pop?

I’ve sketched out some important steps to make sure your secondary characters are rich, diverse, and have readers coming back for more. Continue Reading…

The Secret to Crafting Genuine Characters for Your Novel

Think about what makes you interested or drawn to certain people. What qualities of theirs pull you in? Is it a sense of humor? Some interesting hobby or skill? Engaging style of talking or fascinating facial expressions or gestures?

Every character in your novel should have something about him that makes him interesting. It takes some work to create original, fresh, unpredictable characters, but it’s worthwhile to do. If you don’t want to spend an evening at a party among boring people, how can you expect your readers to be willing to spend ten to twenty hours of their life “hanging out” with your boring characters? We owe it to our readers to take the time to give them a unique cast of characters. Continue Reading…

Page 1 of 41234»