Writer’s Digest has a great post up about strengthening your minor characters–what are their motivations? What traits can you round out?
This got me thinking about the best friend characters in YA. They pop up in lots of novels, especially contemporary YA, and sometimes I feel the best friend characters are a little lacking. They can feel like they only exist to be the main character’s best friend–pushing them into conversations with the romantic lead, fuming at appropriate times, or acting like a lovable oddball. All of that is fine, but it’s good to remember that these characters should also be complete people. In real life, your best friends aren’t just your cheering section–they go home and talk to their pets and take salsa lessons.
When I feel like my minor characters aren’t full people, thinking about big things like motivation and character traits can be hard. But it’s not as hard to imagine those little, normal life things. What does minor character X do when she’s at home on a Saturday morning? What’s minor character Y’s after-school activity? Where does minor character Z’s family go on vacation? These might not be huge, defining qualities, but it helps you start imagining a life for your character outside of your protagonist’s journey.
How do you flesh out your minor characters?