|Photo credit: Yoshplay! on Flickr|
We often discuss how to write strong, interesting characters with our minds on the protagonists, but supporting characters are just as important and should receive just as much attention as our protagonists do when being written and developed.
But what makes for a strong supporting character?
- They have their own lives and backstories. Now, that doesn’t mean you have to go into every detail of that backstory in the narrative (in fact, with few exceptions, it’s probably best that you don’t). But knowing the lives of our characters, supporting characters included, helps us to create a more three-dimensional, fully-realized character. And speaking of which…
- Their world doesn’t revolve around the protagonist. Your supporting characters have their own dreams, priorities and goals. Sometimes their goals may intersect with your protagonist’s goal, sometimes not, but they don’t live to serve your protagonist. When they’re offscreen, they’re still going about their lives, experiencing the world and moving towards some kind of goal—all things you’ll want to keep in mind when writing your supporting characters.
- They have their own motivations. And sometimes (though not always) those motivations may come at odds with your protagonist. Again, remember that even when your supporting characters are working directly with your protagonist towards the same goal, their motivations may not be the same as your main character—and that’s something you’ll want to consider and keep in mind.
What else is important to remember when writing supporting characters?