The No. 1 Tip for Writing Unforgettable Supporting Characters

In this guide we are going to discover the quick and simple secret to making the supporting characters in your novels really POP. It’s vital that you learn to make your ‘guest’ cast interesting. They may be secondary to your protagonist and antagonist, but they are still a key to crafting dynamite books.

The Walk-On Waiter is a Person Too

There’s no reason to treat a walk-on as a second class character. As novelists (as in real life, unfortunately), we often skim over certain individuals. We have a scene—or SCENE—in mind that will illuminate or ennoble our MC, and so we tend to brush off any other characters that happen to be in that scene. AN EXAMPLE:

In your scene you are conveying vital information from—let’s say the wife—to her estranged husband. They are sitting in a fancy restaurant, pouring their hearts out, a cornucopia of emotion all over the fine linen tablecloth, and the waiter show up to offer the wine list. You have your MC brush him off with a wave. We don’t meet the waiter, or even see what he looks like. You do this to show the intense focus of you MC, to display the blatantly obvious fact that he is too absorbed with the MAIN STORY to be pestered by some trivial non-character like the waiter.

(Why then did you bother including the waiter? To remind us that the wife and estranged husband are not alone? You might’ve been better off having them cast furtive glances around, paranoid that someone is listening in. That at least would’ve added something to the scene: a sense of dramatic tension.)

This practice of overlooking minor characters is not conducive to the creation of a fully fleshed out world within your manuscript. You can do so much better. Here’s how: Continue reading “The No. 1 Tip for Writing Unforgettable Supporting Characters”