Everyone Needs A Friend.
And just like anyone your protagonist, needs a pair, a friend or just someone who gives motivation and moves their journey forward. Readers notice every time you introduce a supporting or secondary character, so giving them a purpose in your story is something you should consider or else in the end, readers would be confused or worst—uninterested.
Make sure every character you add has a purpose or maybe even just a minimal impact on the story. If they don’t, then take them off. There are five ways to incorporate a supporting character to your story.
First, they can have a different perspective from your protagonist. This helps when you’re showing a bigger picture of the story. You can even add some dramatic irony (which was discussed on last weeks’ newsletter). This will give readers two distinct points of view which they could use to connect certain events that happened in your story.
Your supporting character can literally be a supporting friend to your protagonist. They can give encouragement they need to push through a difficult situation. They can also be a person of power and influence in the story which can affect your character’s storyline. They don’t need to have a concrete background just means to an end.
That person who helped your protagonist in the most unexpected way can also be a supporting character. The readers don’t have to know or notice them in the beginning. Give it a twist and catch your readers off guard by introducing a supporting character that could definitely change the plot.
Lastly—and the most common purpose of a supporting character—is their love interest. This shouldn’t be a surprise to you since this particular person was never expected to arrive and can make or break the current situation in the protagonist is in. It can either be the love that readers saw coming and developed or something complicated and destructive. You can write whatever kind of drama or tension in your plots as long as you keep your supporting characters as relevant as possible.
Oh and don’t forget to share the love for the supporting people in your lives!
Have a great weekend!