Writing ‘Other Characters’ Into Your Next Book
You have already read about protagonists and antagonists on this blog, but so far we haven’t taken the time to discuss the other characters that give your story a sense of substance and reality. There are over 7 billion people in the world; your book is bound to have some background characters. While by definition they are in the background, it is important to make them seem real to your readers. The other characters in your novel are what help move your main characters along, try not to forget them or make them one-dimensional. Give them personality, describe what they look like, and overall, give them life.
Make the Other Characters in Your Book Realistic and Important
When you start writing your book, you know who your protagonist and antagonist are going to be. You know their backstories, their personality traits, and everything else that makes them tick. Now you don’t have to do the same in-depth character development that you’ve done with your main characters, but the other characters in your books deserve some attention too. Have at least a vague understanding of what their backstories are and give them a reason for being in your book. Do they help your character through a conflict? Maybe they are a part of the conflict instead. If you have a reason for putting these other characters in your book, make it known and flush it out.
Besides giving the other characters in your book valid reasons for existing in the world you have created, you also want to try to make them visible to your readers. If you’ve used descriptive language well to describe your protagonist, your readers should have a vivid image of that particular character in their minds. You don’t have to go into as great of detail with the other characters, but you do want to give them a presence. Describe what they look like, what they wear, and any distinguishing marks that they have. Think of it as a condensed version of details. Write just enough that your readers can picture the other characters in your book, but not so much that it thrusts them into a central role. Give it a perfect balance.
The other characters of your book are the ones that make your book realistic. They are your world’s population and they help it to function properly. If you create a good balance of description, backstory, and purpose for your other characters, your book will end up having a good sense of reality and substance. Let us know in the comments about some of the other characters you have created in your writing!
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