Look Who’s Dipping Into the Magic Punch Bowl: Minor Characters Add Life To Your Party
We love our main couples.
We want them to win readers hearts while striving for their own HEA. We create their family, backstory, and carefully decide what means of transportation they will own (car, ship, dragon – hey, anything goes in paranormal)!
But look beyond the hero and heroine for a minute. A huge potential for creativity sparkles around the edges of your screen. See it? There’s a GOLD MINE waiting to be tapped, and its name is Minor Characters. So get your gear and let’s dive in.
Most stories have a least a few minor characters hanging around. They may be friends or enemies, family or colleagues. They help define the major character through the seeds of conflict you plant. In turn, they become threads that bind your books together, as they have the opportunities to show up in more than one book in your series. They round out your novel, and readers will be happy to see them again. (Unless they’re villains, but you can always give a villain a reason for being bad. That can be tons of fun!)
I’d like to share a great quote from my local chapter of NaNoWriMo: “Let your minor characters do what your major characters can’t.”
I want you to take this idea and run with it. Think of traits that are unique, but you might not want your alpha hero to have, like having an addiction to Lifetime movies. It would be funnier, and memorable, if you gift this trait to one of the hero’s equally alpha buddies. Want a vampire with a craving for M&M’s? This would be a hilarious trait for a sidekick, while your main vamp is more addicted to the neck of his woman.
Or maybe you’re itching to add darkness to one of your men, but your hero already carries his share of tragedy. Give that added depth to a minor character. One of my minor demon warriors turned out to be an undercover mercenary for a gangster, while his “day job” was keeping the realms safe.
Don’t forget the dialog. This is where your minor characters will try to steal the show with unforgettable lines. You can make them funny, snarky, have them curse liberally, or dole out nick names to all the others. Have them flirt or tell dirty jokes.
In this process, you may realize that a minor character has a lot to say, and he deserves his own novel. Your readers, already familiar with him, will be even more excited for his book. And you, having only brushed the surface, will love letting the characters come to life through a serious chunk of text. I know I did. Letting your minor characters take the stage and shine is an amazing feeling!
In Paranormal and Fantasy romance, we are – woo-hoo! – working with more than human characters. This gives you endless options for different species and / or powers. Are you writing a shifter novel? You can throw in a fairy who has to help the rest of the group but tries to not get eaten in the process. Or you can give a character a fear of heights (then in a future book, hook them up with a flying creature).
You can also add your own spin to a commonly accepted legend, or make up a whole new species. My novels have several different demon species. Some are good, some are evil, and some regularly blur that line. One of my favorite authors, Alexandra Ivy, created a short, flirtatious, witty, French-speaking gargoyle sidekick for her vampire series. A gargoyle! See, the options are endless!
Through the minor characters’ personality, dialog, or through different species, you have the chance to build your novel into a unique series. Your readers will love the quirks and depth you give to your minor players, and will look forward to meeting even more of them in future books.
So think of things you would never have your main characters do. Next, come up with a character who can handle those traits. Then add him or her to your story. I can’t wait to see what you come up with!
Now, I’ve got about ten demons, a witch, nymphs, elves, and two vampires, who are waiting, not patiently, for me to tell their stories. Did I mention minor characters provide you with an endless source of novel ideas?
Back to work!
Wicked Wind (Solsti Prophecy #1): Born with the ability to control the wind, Nicole Bonham uses her power to dole out her own brand of vigilante justice in Chicago’s worst neighborhoods. One night, she runs into the unexpected: a devastatingly handsome demon named Gunnar. With his help, Nicole uncovers her origin while strengthening her ability and surviving a crash course in all things demonic. The blazing attraction between her and Gunnar deepens, and together they race to discover who is behind a string of demonic attacks in the city. As they track the mastermind, will Nicole’s unique talent unwittingly send her straight into his lair?
Wicked Waves (Solsti Prophecy #2): Making daggers out of raindrops is only the tip of the iceberg for Brooke Bonham. As one of four women who can control the elements, her ability to manipulate water packs a deluge of potential. Kai’s duties as a Lash demon have kept him busy on Earth for nearly two hundred years. Fighting? He was born to do it. Females? They’re drawn to him. And Earth? The perfect place for him to avoid supernatural bounty hunters.
Forced to work together in the immortal realm, they track a rogue Lash demon at the helm of a widespread kidnapping operation. As they and their foes stalk each other in a demonic game of cat-and-mouse, will her evolving skills and their fledgling bond be enough to save them?
Bio: Sharon Kay lives near Chicago with her husband and son. Wicked Wind, Wicked Waves, and the rest of Solsti Prophecy series formed in her head one weekend and refused to stay quiet until she put pen to paper. Her characters tend to keep her up at night, as they banter, fall in love, and slay endless varieties of power-hungry demons. She is busy revising her third book. You can find her at: