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?