When it comes to writing novels everyone always talks about two major characters: the main character and the bad guy. However, there are so many other characters to consider when writing a novel.
There are side characters, major or minor characters, secondary characters, however, you want to explain it.
If you think about it, your protagonist wouldn’t be where they are if it wasn’t for the help of their supporting characters.
What is a supporting character?
It’s a character in a novel who supports the main character through the plot. They’re not the main focus of the story, but they aid the story in various ways. This can be shown through major or minor characters or secondary characters. Or, maybe a passerby kind of character.
3 examples of supporting characters
The Best Friend
Your main character’s friend may have nothing to do with the plot, but they may get roped into a few things here and there. They’re the perfect opportunity to add a little friction as well. Everyone argues with their best friend and it’ll add one more annoying thing to your main character’s list.
The mentor or teacher is the character who, of course, guides or advises the main character. It may or may not have anything to do with the plot, but most often than not, the main character finds a way to use their teachings to push the plot forward.
The Love Interest
Everyone has a little love in their life and that includes your main character. Sometimes this goes with the plot and other times it doesn’t. Sometimes it even distracts the main character from the plot. Either way, it keeps things interesting.
Treat your supporting cast like any other character.
Supporting characters are just like any other character. The plot just isn’t about them. That’s okay though, they’re still characters who are important to the story.
With that said, be sure to:
- Give them a backstory – This doesn’t have to be too in-depth depending on how often they’ll appear in the story, but it helps.
- Give them good traits – They must be helping the main character for some reason, right?
- Give them bad traits – Everyone makes mistakes. Or, maybe they’re helping for the wrong reasons.
Supporting characters are characters too and they need a lot of attention as well.