Jan 26, 2010

When it comes to...

characters they need to serve a purpose, not matter the size of their role. You need them in every novel. Even the paperboy who makes an appearance should have a little quirk that makes him something other than a flat popsicle stick.

I'm going to post challenges from now on every Tuesday. Challenges that writers who read my blog can either do on their computer, on a piece of paper, or in my comment section. (But, most of these are a little personal to be posting here.)

Anyway, I'm going to start with a simple one and then work toward more complicated ones every week. 

Here's the challenge:

Write a paragraph describing a side character that rarely makes an appearance. NOT THE MAIN CHARACTER. Write what you now, or more importantly, what the READER should know. Keep it short and focus on one important thing--what purpose does this character have toward moving the plot along?

If you can't think of one way the side character moves the story along, I'd consider deleting him or her.

I'm posting this because I believe EVERY character should have an authentic feel to them and purpose, not just the main character.

For example, in my WIP there's a bookstore owner. He needs more customers to come in or else the shop may close. As a result, he often lashes out on the MC, his employee, and takes a lot of smoke breaks to de-stress in the back room. This leads to an interesting fire hazard scene. Even though he's a minor character, his disgusting smoking habit will lead to an action-packed scene, one that forces the MC to make a major decision.


Chutzpah said...

This post is great. And free writing exercises! This is really something to think about...characters are serious business. It's so easy to just throw them around when we should really be putting thought into all of them.