Characters make the story. Luke Skywalker, Oliver Twist, and Captain Ahab are all epic characters that stand the test of time. I’ve always thought that a good action story has to have a great villain. Game Of Thrones’ Lanisters, Pan’s Captain Hook, The Rings’ Smaug, and Snow’s White Witch come to mind. Your main characters, no matter if they are protagonist or antagonist, are key to your stories. But what about the minor characters?
Main characters are round and full of development. Minor characters are flat. Your readers may never know exactly where they were born, and all of the intricate details of their book stores, but that doesn’t mean minor characters shouldn’t be well thought out and strategically placed within a story. Minor character can fill many roles within a story.
My favorite way to use minor characters is to have them flesh out major characters. In my book, Bike Life, my main character is a timid middle-aged man who has discovered motorcycles. One of the minor characters is a friend of his love interest, a biker chic. The spunky Lala (minor character) was great at highlighting the main character’s timid personality. Their interactions brought out his character and helped me flesh him out for the readers. You can also use minor characters to explore the plot and setting, set the tone and mood, or comic relief. This is especially important in high stakes high drama stories.
Use your minor characters to support and bring life to your story. Have them set benchmarks for major characters. And they can highlight subplots. You can find all sorts of creative ways to use them. Be sure to comment below and let us know how you’ve used them in your own works.