Character Bio: Essentials for a Minor Character

Posted on Jan 11, 2018 by   2 Comments | Posted in Blog

Creating a drawn-out character bio sheet with an interview for minor characters can be overkill. At the same time creating a character sketch sheet is necessary to keep track of your minor characters and their features. Additionally, a character sketch sheet with a few key elements should be added to your tool box in order to truly understand your minor character and the motivation behind their decisions.

What elements are necessary for minor characters? The most basic elements include:

  • Name: First, Middle, Last
  • Nickname(s)
  • Role in the story
  • Physical Description
  • Personality
  • Habits and Mannerisms
  • Background

Let’s take a closer look at each one and why it’s important for minor characters. And remember to record everything on your Character Sketch sheet for quick, easy, and effortless reference.

Name & Nickname

You may think a minor character only needs a first name, and if that character makes a one-time appearance, you are right. However, if your minor character makes more than one appearance consider giving them a last name even if it’s never mentioned in the book. If you chose names based on meanings, then it’s good to record that too. If your character has a nickname, or other descriptive words used to reference your character, it’s best to make a note on your character sketch to help you remember.

Story Role

What role does the character play in the story, If s/he is a waiter in the coffee shop, make note, for when you reference the character again you’ll know it was a coffee shop and not a cafe.

Physical Description

Even if you don’t describe your minor character in the book, it’s best if you, the author, know your character’s description, it will help you imagine them in the scene. Their age, gender, and body type are the top essentials. Other important things to include are identifiable markings–do they have a visible scar, tattoo, or piercings? Obviously, other items to include are eye color, hair color, and height. By creating an image for your character will help you bring them to life.

Personality

A full personality description isn’t always necessary for a minor character, but you’ll want to know a little about them, so at the very least I recommend identifying a Myers Briggs personality type.

Habits & Mannerisms

To make a minor character more realistic, you may want to give them a habit or mannerism. Do they roll their eyes, have an accent, certain words or a phrase they like to use? It all helps to define the character and make them come alive.

Background

A minor character’s background may not be your top priority–who really cares about the delivery van driver? But, if that delivery van driver leaves the package on the porch in the rain without covering the box and your main character’s new pair of suede shoes is ruined, it would be good, for you, the author, to know the motivation behind the delivery driver and why s/he didn’t cover the box in plastic to protect it from the elements. Did the driver’s wife just leave him or his father just get diagnosed with cancer? Maybe that contributes to his absent-mindedness. Not that this information will ever make an appearance into your story, but it will help shape your minor character’s behavior.

So, next time you add a minor character into your novel, spend a little time creating a character sketch sheet. It will not only be a lifesaver and save you a headache in the future when you decide for that character to make another appearance, but by developing your minor characters you will breathE life into them and create a stunning cast for your readers to love.***

mISSY DE GRAFF

More About Missy De Graff

Missy has always been an avid reader and lover of all things that go bump in the night, but it wasn’t until 2009 that she was inspired by a friend and coworker to begin putting pen to paper. She began weaving together worlds of romance and intrigue, mixed with paranormal elements, suspenseful storylines, and addicting characters.

Missy resideS in Virginia at the foothills of the Appalachian mountains with her husband and son. She can often be found wandering through their Southern Heirloom Apple Orchard with their mountain cur and barns cats close on her heels. She is a bohemian by nature and a Gemini by birth. In December 2017, Missy released her debut novel, The Rogue’s Fate, which is a Paranormal Romance with Urban Fantasy elements.

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2 Responses to "Character Bio: Essentials for a Minor Character"

  1. Comment by cheryl coder
    January 11, 2018 1:31 pm

    Finally! Some clear suggestions and examples of how to create minor characters who may have a small impact on the storyline, but is 3 dimensional all the same! I particularly like the mannerisms, the rolling of the eyes, etc. that give ( even though a minor character) breath and life into the story. These suggestions help engage the reader into being part of the adventure, not just simply reading! Well done, Ms de Graff! Should be very helpful to struggling authors and a reminder to well-worn authors ( like myself) to remember that every word, every character has an impact on the story!! Look forward to more from you!

  2. Comment by Maria Powers
    January 17, 2018 3:16 pm

    This is such a great idea and you made me think how good it would be to have this for all the characters especially in a series. Thank you!


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