Monday, April 25, 2011

Side Characters are Heroes too.

Thanks everyone who signed up for my easter contest, and hello new followers! :) I hope we can get a few more entries before the end of the week to really spice things up. Retweets are always loved!

Now, in Crash, my current WIP, I have a character that came out of nowhere and quickly weasled his way into a star position. This isn't really unusual for me, as I love side characters and my books tend to write themselves more often than not. But what I'm starting to realize in all my infinite frustration, is that even though he's weasled his way into a star role, right now he's little more than a foil.

I hate foils.

Sure, they're great sometimes, but honestly, in novels, I like to think of each character as their own person. In life we don't have "foils," each person is their own main character, their own star. So I try to make every semi-main character a star, not just my MC.

So how do I do this?

Simple, (although it seems that way even though it took me a while ot puzzle it out.) for a character to stand out, they have to do something on their own. It can be small, it doesn't have to outshine your MC, but have them do something that's still vital to the plot. Of course your side characters all have dreams and motives and desires, so make your characters act on them. They don't have to blindly follow your MC around. It will help expand your story, deepen it, and give interesting subplots. (I love subplots!)

Try it. Find a character who is not insignificant, but has a smaller role but close to your MC. Have them chase their aspirations. Tie it back into the main plot somehow. Maybe they discover something about the villian? Maybe they foil a plan by a rival? Look through the eyes of somebody else to help add to your story. If you're writing in first person, you should be able to pull it off as well. Though we won't see it from the other character's POV, we can have them explain it or show us through other methods.



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