Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Wednesday's Writer's Tip - Minor characters #amwriting

We've all read books that have casts of thousands and some with only a few. Each writer must decide how many characters they want to put in their book. When reading How To Write Mysteries by Shannon OCork, she addresses this issue. "We've already figured we don't want any more characters than we can effectively use."

There are minor characters and secondary characters. Not all minor characters are in the story to be given a name, often they have a function, like being a cab driver who gives the main character a bit of knowledge about the area, or the nurse in an ER who hands the doctor instruments. They may only be shadow characters and once they serve their purpose for the scene they are never seen again.

Some minor characters can be used as bridges to connect one action to another. These characters should be used with care and not dwelled on for if they are given too large a role they could take over the story and steer the reader's view away from the main characters.

So remember to choose just enough characters for your story. Sometimes you will need casts of hundreds and sometimes a few. If a minor character tries to take over the story, there is a problem and you must re-think the function of that character and focus on the main characters.We've all had a minor character try to take the role we've given to the hero or the heroins. Tone them down and give them a story of their own.

1 comment:

Heddykeith said...

Great post! Thanks for the information.