7 Ways To Create Memorable Minor Characters

Believe it or not, minor characters can be some of the most memorable. That being said, they don’t get a lot of exposure, so it can be tricky to flesh them out to be vibrant and fun. Here are seven practical strategies to accomplish just that:

Name minor characters

Don’t settle for ‘the rich lady in heels.’ Give minor characters a name to automatically bring their identity to the next level.

Caricaturize minor characters

Minor characters won’t be super developed, so it’s okay to caricaturize one or two of their traits to enhance their stage presence.

Give minor characters recognizable physical traits

Unique physical distinctions are an easy way of making minor characters a little more memorable, and can provide for humor, intrigue, curiosity, etc.

Showcase minor characters multiple times

If you introduce a minor character in chapter three, why not have her make a second appearance in chapter fourteen? She’s a familiar face that the reader already likes/dislikes, so they’ll enjoy a second chance to hang out with her.

Establish a relationship between minor characters and the protagonist

When the protagonist first interacts with the minor character, what kind of connection is there? Does she annoy him? Does he find her attractive? Does she try to help him, but can’t? Small brush-strokes in this area turn her into a multi-faceted person even if she only has two pages of existence.

Give minor characters a part to play

Late in the plot, you may find yourself in need of a character to perform a certain role in your story that you hadn’t anticipated in the early stages. Instead of creating a whole new character, why not bring back a previously-introduced minor character and give them a little extra time in the limelight?

Show minor characters in varied contexts

Your town’s baker isn’t in the bakery 24/7. Give readers a glimpse of the baker in other situations to subtly remind them he’s not just there to make cookies for your protagonist. He’s a human being with his own life and story, even if all we see of him are a few quick snapshots.


What do you do to bring your minor characters to life?

Advertisements

10 thoughts on “7 Ways To Create Memorable Minor Characters

  1. Hey, Nate! I’ve found your blog through Hannah Heath’s recent post, and I am enjoying reading your blog (probably too much– I should be doing school. Oh well.) Great tips for minor characters in this post. It is interesting to think about popular movies/books that have had minor characters, with only a few appearences and lines, become more popular than the main characters. One of my favorite examples of Boba Fett. A lot of your tips are reflected in how that character was portrayed in Star Wars.

    Like

      1. Boba Fett is one of my favorite Star Wars characters (in fact, I would argue that the world building for the Mandalorian culture, in the expanded universe, is one of the best examples of world building for writers.) Tomorrow, I am actually posting, on my blog, about ways to develop minor characters, partially inspired by your post (though I wanted to give more specific tips.) So thanks for the inspiration.

        Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s