As I work through the second draft of THE BARD’S GIFT (now about 75% complete), I’m starting to think more and more about my side characters. Minor characters can add depth, conflict, and realism to a story. After all, would HARRY POTTER be as good without the Weasley twins or Luna Lovegood? Or LORD OF THE RINGS without Faramir and Eowyn?
My first drafts tend to be very protagonist-centric. Minor characters and even the antagonists tend to be underdeveloped in the first draft. That’s not a problem–as long as I realize it and fix it.
Through the second draft, part of what I’ve been doing is strengthening the antagonists. I’m not nearly done with that. There’ll be more to do in the third and maybe even in the fourth draft.
There are other minor characters, too, though. And they all have to be real, three-dimensional characters in the final draft. That’s one of the main things I have to work on in later drafts.
In particular, I’ve got my eye on a very minor character. Well, she was minor in the first draft. A friend of Astrid, my main character, who isn’t always on her side. She’s a friend, but she has her own issues and goals, too. And her own ideas of what is in Astrid’s best interest. This is good. It makes her more real. It’s also a potential (and currently untapped) source of conflict in the story. Next draft, Gerda is getting a lot bigger role.
Who are some of your favorite side characters?