1. metempsychosis
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    metempsychosis New Member

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    Need help with creating minor characters

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by metempsychosis, Sep 23, 2011.

    I have two of the main characters in a short story I'm trying to develop, but I'm having trouble about how go on to creating supporting and minor characters. How can I go about doing this? Just the same way I did to develop main characters? I didn't want to do that as they are minor characters and not much will be revealed about them at all, but if I need to then I don't mind fully developing them as well. Any tips to go about this will be very helpful.

    Most of the time, I write short stories, usually about 5-10 pages and these short stories have only ever had two characters ever. They detail in how the characters are related to one another throughout and then go on about the actual plot, usually romances with tragedy or bad attempt at suspense. Because of this, I'm not used to having more than just the two characters. I do vaguely add other characters for a moment or so, so its not like they are entirely alone in my story's world. But again, I never had any real supporting or minor characters that help with actual plot.
     
  2. Croga
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    Croga Member

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    I hate truly static characters, but they can't progress so as to outshine your protagonist.
    It's a balancing act similar to the story within a story. Don't make your side attraction more interesting than your main event, but if they are flat and dull filler then edit them out.
    On one side you have the police chief who after 17 years on the force and six books(no cop drama in particular) has gained no knowledge, no new experience and has barely altered his life in any conceivable way unless he had a kid or grand-kid , but on the other side their is the risk of ' why didn't he write that guy that would of been a good book' aka the desirable spin off.
    Problem is for any rule there is those who have broken it successfully so really just write them as well rounded people and make sure that they exist for a reason in your story, but don't give the impression that they exist only for that reason.
     
  3. VM80
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    VM80 Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think many of the best short stories don't delve too deeply into 'character development'. Avoid unnecessary details.

    Reveal as you go along, and only that which is truly needed.
     
  4. metempsychosis
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    metempsychosis New Member

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    So basically a 'happy medium' of roundness in characters without making turning them into a constant? Sounds easier said than done, at least to me. Are there any exercises out there to help write about them or use them? I know of main character exercises to help get to know your character, but I don't know if there are any for minor character creation practice or the like.
    Thanks it really does help. now I don't have to worry to bad about them, I just got to develop them more.
     
  5. Timothy Giant
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    Timothy Giant Member

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    I would take the main character creation practices and write only the first half or so of those practices for minor characters. What I mean is, most practices involve answering a few points, like:
    - age
    - occupation
    - relationships/social status/environment
    - good/bad qualities
    - conflict
    - motivation
    - etc. etc. etc.

    Now take only the things up to 'conflict', or maybe even 'good/bad qualities', and write it. This way, you evade the harder questions, but they will probably never be needed for minor characters.

    Hope this helps!
     
  6. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Make minor characters the same way you make major ones. Just don't put as much time and effort into adding dimension.

    On the other hand, some minor characters have more sparkle than major ones. If you have a character like that, spend the extra time to make him or her stand out, like the colorful bag lady who witnessed a crime, but whose overall role in the story is minimal. Such little surprise characters can really brighten a story.
     

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