Memorable Characters

Warrick paced across a rush covered floor in the castle's great hall. He waited
for Jonathan, his liege. A leather-bound claymore slung low about his waist and his hand rested upon it. His large frame sported a plaid in the colors of his clan. The tartan fell below rough-hewn body leather and gleaming chain mail armor. Hailing from the Highlands, he bore the scars of numerous battles won and lost. Many called him Warrick the Bold. Jonathan called him his most trusted friend and confidant...
(Warrick, secondary character from Knight of Magic © by Kaye Manro)

There is so much discussion on the subject of characters these days and rightly so. Without good characterization where would our stories be? Though by far the most important aspect of our story is our heroes, heroines and villains. But don't forget those endearing secondary characters, the ones who people our stories and assist our main characters. It’s easy to concentrate on the h/h and forget to make the support cast strong as well.

When I have a story idea, one of my favorite things to do is to people my fictional world with a great supporting cast. However, it is not always easy to make them come to life. True, good character sketches help. And descriptive narrative as I have written about Warrick can go a long way. But how do they become really real? Maybe this is the toughest part for aspiring writers, even seasoned writers. If we don’t create them well, our support people can turn out unrealistic or two dimensional.

Lea Schizas is holding a character building workshop this month. If you are interested here is the link:

Date: February 24
Time: 7pm EST
Place: Chat Lounge 1
Price: Free

What about you? How do you create the best and most alive supporting cast for your story? And as a reader, what do you like best about secondary characters?



Debs said...

Once I have the right name for my characters they really come alive for me and I can see them more clearly.

I'm not sure that I manage to put what I see on to paper as well as I can, and it's something I need to work on.

Dianne said...

Hi Kaye-- I do love your secondary character, Warrick. And thanks for the info about the character development workshop.

Helen Hardt said...

I actually do very little work on secondary characters. They seem to come out of the woodwork on their own once I have my hero and heroine. More than once, though, one of them has demanded a book of his own!


Kaye Manro said...

Debs, naming our characters really does help, doesn't it?

Thanks, Dianne.

And Helen-- you are such a prolific writer. I love the fact that you can do that. And secondary characters can demand their own stories.

Jan Mader said...

Thank you so much, Kaye. Your comment was so inspirational to me. No matter what, I'm getting involved with a wonderful network of people.

Please stay in touch...Jan

Cari Quinn said...

Great topic! Thanks for the tip about the character building workshop, Kaye. In the past, I haven't spent as much time on secondary characters as I should have, because I tend to get wrapped up in the h/h. Lately, I'm realizing more and more how they contribute to the overall feel of the story.

Loved seeing a glimpse of Warrick... :)

Tonya Renee Callihan said...

Sometimes I find myself really loving my villian. I want to know why he/she is the way they are, what drove them to be evil? Sometimes I find myself telling their story and have to go back and do a lot of editing.

I agree with Debs, once my characters have names they seem more real to me.

Christina Phillips said...

When I was aiming for Mills & Boon, I had a lot of problems with my secondary characters who kept wanting more page space than I could allow them! I do love secondary characters - in the novella I'm finishing off I already have a full length story buzzing around my brain for the hero's best friend!

Linda Banche said...

I find myself going backwards. Sometimes the main character in a story becomes a minor character in a story that takes place at an earlier time. And, like Christina, I have secondary characters I would like to give their own stories.

Kaye Manro said...

I would say we all love our secondary characters! Thanks to everyone for adding so much insight to this post on memorable characters.