Three more days until my interview with YA author/agent Mandy Hubbard. It all happens Monday March 1st. There will be a chance to win a copy of Mandy's book, Prada and Prejudice. But ya havta be a follower. Hope to see you here. =)
In his book, Revision & Self-Editing, Mr. Bell reminds us that minor characters and opposition characters give us "delicious plot possibilities." Minor characters add spice, that extra spark that distinguishes the absolute best fiction. Put effort into them. They're important.
"Supporting characters should serve one of two purposes in a story. They either help or hinder the main character. They are allies or irritants." If they aren't helping or hindering, they are just taking up space.
He talks about one of my personal favorite books, David Copperfield. David's beloved nanny Peggotty, is an ally. She reappears at various times offering David much needed support.
Contrast that with Miss Murdstone, the vicious sister of David's stepfather. Miss Murdstone (don't you love that name?) is an irritant. She stands in the way of David's happiness.
Mr. Bell says, "neither character is wasted. Each functions to illuminate a different side of David's character. When you conceive a minor character this way, you open up wonderful plot opportunities."
He brings to our minds the fact that even the most chilling villian should evoke pity and sometimes even genuine sympathy as well as terror. Remember the pitiful Frankenstein monster?
Mr. Bell gives us some deepening questions to ask our villains.
What are you good at?
What admirable qualities do you possess?
What do other characters think of you?
Why might people be drawn to you, or at least be fascinated by you?
Awesome stuff, isn't it? (^_^)