Sekrit Author Knowledge – Minor Characters
Not really secret, given he posted it on Facebook… but on the other hand, Facebook is the prime example of unsearchable kludgely software that is designed to stimulate outrage and make it impossible to easily find or carry on a normal conversation.
So, cheerfully saved here, in order to find it later!
January 23, 2018
I’m editing House of Assassins now, and I got to thinking about a trick I do. Maybe this will help aspiring writers.
One thing I get complimented on is that most of my secondary and even tertiary characters feel fleshed out. In actuality that’s not true, because Guard #3, I didn’t pay any more attention to him than necessary. But if you add a little extra focus to even a few of these type characters, it will create a feeling of depth.
So tonight I come across a minor character who needs to come into a scene, basically do one thing, and then die. This character needs to be here. But as I wrote that scene, I went to the To Do List at the end of the book (that’s literally what it is titled so I can find it fast with a ctrl F) and made a note about that guy.
So while editing, I looked at that minor character who needed to do something important, and then I asked myself where I could maybe have him show up earlier to get a bit more depth.
At the same time on the To Do List, I had a note about fleshing out another secondary character by telling something about his family.
Boom. Connection made. Problem solved. So minor character gets attached to this other character.
So then I go through the book looking for scenes with this second character, and what is the story between these two. I made a few tweaks, added a bit of a complication, and all of a sudden there is this really tragic story of betrayal and sacrifice involving a secondary and tertiary character.
And by adding like 500 words, spread across four scenes, there is now this really interesting story about these two guys.
If you pay attention there are often a bunch of opportunities like this while you edit.