Recently, during the revamp of our manuscript, we found ourselves creating both background and minor characters that had not existed in the original. They materialized naturally as we attempted to form the story, highlighting the interactions of our major characters and the world they live in in a much more plausible way.
Often born from necessity, a minor character can be just the hero that the flow of your story needs to come to life. While it may seem fascinating to write about a character who has nothing else but themselves to rely on or to push the narrative forward, the reality is that conflict and movement of a story are based on the interaction with people and environments. Thus there is the necessity for background and minor characters make their way into the lineup of our character’s friends, enemies and associates. To take a page from John Donne, “No man is an island”.
After we gave life to these minor characters, we took a moment to write down a few notes and details to flesh them out. It made me realize that no matter how minor or major a character is, an outline of their background, purpose and personality is essential to keep true to them as they pop in and out of the scenes to play their parts. I suppose in a way it simply reaffirms that old saying that there are no small parts.