Wednesday, March 9, 2016

#WeWriteBooks, Post 6: Side Characters


Jill Williamson is a chocolate loving, daydreaming, creator of kingdoms. She writes weird books in lots of weird genres like fantasy (Blood of Kings and Kinsman Chronicles), science fiction (Replication), and dystopian (The Safe Lands trilogy). She's currently writing a post-apocalyptic book with all of you called THIRST in conjunction with the #WeWriteBooks series. 

Find Jill on FacebookTwitterPinterest, or on her author website, where you can read THIRST. You can also try two of her fantasy novels for free here and here.


Welcome to week six of #WeWriteBooks Wednesdays, where we are writing books together. I'm plugging along with THIRST. I posted Chapter 4 yesterday over on my author website. Click here to read another cliffhanger chapter ending. Mwa ha ha!




Today's Topic: Side Characters

To recap. Week one was genre (THIRST is post-apocalyptic YA). Week two was premise. Here's mine:
A waterborne disease has sprung up in every corner of the globe, decimating the human race. Young survivors Eli McShane and his friends journey toward Colorado and the rumored location of a safe water source.


Week three was Storyworld. Week four, maps and floorplans. Week five, protagonists and main characters. Today we're going to get to know our side characters.

Side characters are important to a story. Not all side characters are portrayed in the same way. Some side characters will be more important than others. And some might not even have names! I've put together a few things that I think are important to consider when creating side characters. But first, here are some archived posts that might help you.

Archived posts for creating characters:
How To Create A Strong Cast Of Characters
How To Populate Your Story With The Right Cast
What Every Character Needs
How To Make The Most Of Your Character’s Best Friend
7 Ways To Grow Your Character’s Relationships
How To Build Unique Character Voices

Archived posts for naming characters:
7 Tips For Naming Characters (for contemporary and historical writers)
Choosing Names For Your Characters (for spec fiction writers) 

Archived posts for brainstorming character traits:
Character Hobby And Skills Brainstorming List 
Character’s Merits, Flaws, Or Fears Brainstorming Lists
How To Develop Your Character’s Skills Into Talent

Side Character Roles

When I started writing my first book, I wanted to have two side characters because I was copying Harry Potter. On my third book, I had way too many side characters because I was trying to be "realistic" and that's how many friends/enemies I'd had in high school.

Neither of those reasons are good reasons for creating side characters. Every side character should have a purpose in the story. This might mean they are the best friend or the annoying teacher. This might mean they're people who never get names like a bus driver or an expendable Redshirt from Star Trek. The level to which you develop each side character depends on how important their role in in your story.

I once wrote a blog post on Dramatica. This is a computer program that helps you build a story to a certain model. I found their breakdown of character interactions fascinating. Using Dramatica's "tags" for example, in Star Wars, Luke is our Protagonist, the empire is the Antagonist, Obi Wan is the Guardian, Darth Vader is the Contagonist, R2D2 and C3PO are the Sidekicks, Chewbaca is Emotion, Leia is Reason, and Han is the Skeptic. Click the link to read my Go Teen Writers blog post on Character Roles From Dramatica.

The point is that characters should have a role that interacts with the main character. So take some time to think about side characters you have or might need to create. What relationship does each have to the protagonist? What role do they fill in the story?

You can also take a look at A List of Character Archetypes, but try to avoid character clichés. Treat these archetypes more like small character traits in a much more complex characater or roles that a much more complex character fills in the story.


Logan
In THIRST, so far, I have the following side characters: Zaq, Logan, Jaylee, and Riggs. Another important side character that will be appearing soon is Lizzie. Here is how I have defined each role in respect to Eli:

Zaq- Best friend. Eli looks up to Zaq.
Lizzie- Eli's little sister. They're really close. Lizzie teaches Eli about girls without really meaning to.
Logan- Another good friend. Eli looks out for Logan.
Jaylee- Eli's love interest.
Riggs- Jaylee's love interest. Riggs also causes drama for Eli and repeatedly hinders Eli's goals.
Plague- Antagonist (Though other people fill this role scene-by-scene, and eventually one woman will when my characters reach the settlement of survivors.)

I'd like to add that there are other important side characters in every story. Some fill a role temporarily, like Pete, the grizzly gas station attendant in THIRST. His role was strictly informational. My characters needed to learn a few hints as to what was going on, and they needed gas. Pete filled both those roles in an interesting way.


Side Character Tags

Character tags are defining characteristic words. These help characterize over time as you repeat them (hopefully not too much) in your story. They help the reader see and remember your characters. Here are some examples J. K. Rowling used in her Harry Potter books:

Harry Potter: lightning-shaped scar, broken glasses, messy hair, clothes that are too big (because they're Dudley's hand-me-downs), looks just like his father but for his mother's green eyes.

Ron Weasley: red hair, freckles, poor, uses a hand-me-down wand, wears shabby clothing, has a shabby pet rat... everything he owns is shabby.

Hermione Granger: buck teeth, bushy hair, clever, often carries a book or seven, has a pet cat.

Lizzie

Rubeus Hagrid: half-giant, eyes like black beetles, has a wild beard and hair, loves animals, probably has some animal food or an actual animal in his pocket at all times. Is a terrible cook.

Draco Malfoy: blond, pale and pointed face, wealthy, arrogant pure-blood, has two minion-like friends who follow him everywhere.

Click this link to read more about Character Tags and Titles.

Here is my quick list from THIRST. These are mostly generic descriptions. I think I will need to work on them some more...

Zaq- athletic, swimmer, wears flip flops, shaggy black hair, sugar addict
Lizzie- Eli's little sister, long brown hair, baseball cap, thin and small (size 2)
Logan- Braces, blond afro, loves quoting facts, worrier
Jaylee- Reddish-brown hair (often in pigtails), freckles, big brown eyes
Riggs- puka shell necklace, drives a Range Rover, dresses trendy and expensive



Zaq

Side Character Backstory


Everyone has a past. You might spend a lot of time on this with your protagonist and main characters, but with side characters, you don't need much to make it seem like you know everything there is to know about them. Oftentimes this can be a secret that no one knows. Or maybe the protagonist knows it, but no one else does. This might also be a skill or a code a character lives by. Here is an example from THIRST:

Zaq- He trained all his life as a swimmer. He was planning to try out for this year's Olympic team, and stood a great chance of making it until the Great Pandemic came.


Side Character Arc/Arc Illusion

Jaylee
It's important for your protagonist(s) to have a solid character arc, but other characters should grow and change too. Try to give important characters a character arc, or at least the illusion of one. You can do that by stating something they will learn over the course of the story or how they will change. Here is an example from THIRST:

Jaylee- Jaylee lives life to have fun, no matter what her mother, teachers, or anyone else says. In a world where a disease has ravaged the world's population, such reckless living comes with a price. Jaylee will learn that sometimes a little moral caution in life can be a good thing.



Assignment Time

Create a list of important side characters, then answer the following for each:

1. Role each character plays in the story in relation to the main character.
2. List descriptive tags for each side character.
3. Give each important side character an interesting backstory or secret that might make the story more interesting.
4. How will each character grow or change during the course of the story, for good or evil?

*Bonus- If it helps you, you can also create a character board to look at as you write. Here is my post on the subject: Creating A Character Board.

Post your answers in the comments for at least one of your side characters. I'm curious to see what you all come up with!


 

37 comments:

  1. I've been keeping up with THIRST and am on the edge of my seat waiting for Chapter 5!!

    I have most of my side characters planned out, so here's one:

    Brent--

    1. Tess's best friend.
    2. tall, super friendly, dark hair and eyes, Spanish-American, excellent cook
    3. His superhero ability is sharper-than-normal memory, so he sometimes remembers things he'd rather forget.
    4. By the end of the story, Brent will realize that he needs to step in and lead the team.

    Thanks so much for the post, Mrs. Williamson! I can't wait until next week.

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    1. Thanks, Linea!:-) Great job on Brent. I love that he's an excellent cook too, that's really fun. Good stuff!

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    2. My favorite character on my favorite TV show is a guy who can cook, so I always love to see this in a character!

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  2. Rachel

    1. Abril's mom, voice of reason
    2. Dark brown hair always braided or up, grey eyes, kind, protective
    3. I haven't decided yet :)
    4. She will learn to let her children (one is 18 the other is 16)get out of the trouble (they cause) on their own and let them make (a lot of) their decisions on their own so that they are prepared for the future when they will need to do so

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    1. Good job, Abi! That's a hard lesson for a mom to learn, by the way. *Ahem* lol

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    2. :) I chose is because my mom does encourage me to make (some) decisions myself

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    3. It's cool you choose the mom since a lot of YA seems to be bent against including parents.

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    4. Thanks, her dad is there to I just don't know if he has an arc yet. I try to keep the parents present whenever possible because I realized that YA leaves them out so much :)

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  3. Irina: friend's love interest, is a cause of irritation for Darro.
    - Clear-cut beauty, expressive blue eyes, cold, bitter, vengeful, vulgar or imperious depending upon mood.
    - Grew up with the pride of a royal house, but in shabby circumstance ending with the brutal death of family.
    - Will come to understand compassion, even for the enemy.

    Harpras: Darro's general/advisor.
    - one leg shorter than the other, perpetual shuffling limp, usually seen carrying instrument playing sticks (even on a battlefield), often chuckling to himself over hidden jokes, coming out with surprising wisdom.
    - Has led a VERY eventful life as decades-long leader of a resistant people.
    - Will see the fulfillment of the prophecy he long had faith in.

    Nicolae: Darro's childhood friend.
    - long, lean, wolfish, northern accent, scar on throat, constant wry humor.
    - Made his hometown too hot to hold him, became a road-robber for a time.
    - Will be begrudgingly delighted to see his respected friend fulfill a prophecy he did not really believe in.

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    1. Great job on making these seem so well rounded, Savannah! I feel like I know them already. :-)

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  4. I have a lot of side characters for reasons. Most of them have backstories even if said backstories are literally never going to be actually relevant XD Now who to do...

    Adelle -

    1. A friend/teammate of Marianne
    2. Small, super-extraverted, long blue hair, acts much younger than she is.
    3. Spent the first seven years of her life in the Fairy World, where time passes differently and age is irrelevant, so despite being almost fifteen she still acts like a ten year old. Hasn't seen her mother in almost eight years.
    4. She'll become considerably more mature over the course of the story.

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    1. Ooh, I like her! Very clever that growing up in the fairy world affected her personality. She sounds like my daughter. (My girl is twelve, but still plays preschool class with her stuffed animals, which I love, btw, though my girl doesn't have the excuse of having grown up in the fairy world. LOL)

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  5. Hey Jill, great post as usual! I can't wait to hear about everyone's side characters. Here are two of mine.

    Jazz:
    --The chipper local girl who befriends a reluctant Olive
    --Catlike facial expressions (which are described in more detail in the novel), a LOT of platinum blonde hair which is sometimes worn in a thick braid with her bangs poofing out, a big, dark mole below her left eye, can't sit still, loves to wear denim and flowing white shirts (she rarely wears colors because she's color-blind and afraid of creating an outfit that clashes), chipper and optimistic about others and their less-than-ideal situations, has a walk which Olive pegs as unusual which leads to...
    --...Jazz is hiding a pretty major secret from Olive. A slow-growing, supposedly benign tumor on her knee has become cancerous. Because Jazz feels that she won't survive, she is determined to better the lives of others around her--especially Olive's--before the cancer consumes her.
    --At the book's end, Jazz will be more optimistic in her own future and have a better understanding of how God cares for her.

    Brander:
    --Olive and Brander end up working the same shift at a shave ice shack and going to the same church. Unfortunately, Olive tends to make rash first impressions and, therefore, completely misinterprets Brander as a stuck-up nobody.
    --Tall, muscular but not bulky, big chunky black glasses, shy and sort of awkward but actually extremely smart and witty, awkwardly long fingers, floppy dark brown hair which has been highlighted from time at the beach, winning smile with braces, stutters a little when nervous, contagious laugh, he is kind and courteous and always hopes that people will return the favor, he dresses very differently--collared, short-sleeved button-down shirts, linen shorts, etc.--people instantly think he's way too prissy.
    --His parents are extremely wealthy and own one of Hawaii's top resorts. They dream of nothing less than Brander following in the footsteps of their designer sandals. Although Brander has never admitted it to them, his real dream is to work AT their resort...in the kitchen. He loves to cook but that, on top of his prissy clothes, leads to him being teased and ignored at school. Jazz used to be his only true friend but she caused some sort of a falling-out (I'm still a bit hazy on that part...) Because of all this, he is slightly wary when entering a new relationship.
    --At the end of the story he will have finally found his niche in life and he will be more confident in his relationships. He also may or may not have made up with Jazz and found a girlfriend...

    Any feedback is appreciated!! Also, does anyone think my character names are too "out there"??? I totally LOVE them but I know they're pretty unusual...at least I refrained from naming my MC "Evening"!

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    1. I love the name Jazz! It fits so well with your description of her. They both seem like awesome side characters.

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    2. Thanks, Linea! I really appreciate that and, by the way, like your list of tags for Brent...can he cook for me?!?

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    3. Great job on this, Taylor. I think your character names are perfect. And this is fabulous. Love it: *she rarely wears colors because she's color-blind and afraid of creating an outfit that clashes*


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  6. "Always carries around a book or seven..." This is me.
    Erin- is Kamri's friend and roommate, and her polar opposite.
    Red hair, hazel eyes, loves fashion and art, good grades.
    Mason- is Kamri's love interest and the Principal/Supervisor/Owner (or whatever she is)'s son. Then she lies to him, and he gets upset.
    Messy blonde, blue eyes, sporty, smart.
    Collin- is Mason's adopted younger brother. Kamri and Collin are close friends, and he is the only one she trusts... sort of.
    Blonde, green eyes, adopted, reads often.

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    1. Good job, Josie! I love bookworm characters. :-)

      You guys are all doing so good. I'm loving hearing about your characters.

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  7. Liam Driscoll:
    -The prince's best friend, and later Kaia's friend as well.
    -Tall, blonde, lanky. Moss-green eyes. Walks with long strides. Good with bow&arrow.
    Kind of scared of girls, doesn't know the first thing about talking to them, can’t dance to save his life, but has shocking talent with the fiddle.
    -He grew up in the same area that Kaia comes from and knows that country's sign language.
    -He learns about GIRLS.

    Grania Cassidy:
    -The witch who curses the prince.
    -Black greasy hair held back with brightly coloured scarves and waved down her back. Tight corset dresses, wears gold earrings, bracelets, etc. Walks like a cat and has a low, oily voice.
    -She has a baby, born with a deformed foot, that she abandons on the street. Kaia finds it.
    -Fosters hate against Kaia that grows in to an obsession, which leads to the curse.

    Dr. Ivor Ruane:
    -Stepfather and mentor to Kaia.
    -Dark hair, streaked with gray, carefully combed. Grey eyes, boyish smile. Tries to act professional & dignified at all times and usually fails. About forty-ish.
    -Can dance like a grasshopper.
    -He is inspired by Kaia in more ways than one. I know that's vague :P

    Lile:
    -Kitchen maid. Kaia's friend.
    -Trim, neat, short. Black hair. Rather bossy. Likes to be in charge. Talks a lot.
    -Is secretly a wonderful hairdresser.
    -She decides that marrying a teasing stable-boy who doesn't possess an ounce of romance in his body isn't such a bad thing after all.

    Lady Aran:
    -Mistress of the Dark Forrest.
    -Long flowing red hair. Bold, dark blue eyes. Enjoys sarcasm. A master at swordplay.
    -If she leaves the Forrest, she will have lost her control over it forever.
    -She decides that helping people is worth more than power.

    Tell me whatcha think!!!

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    1. "Has shocking talent with the fiddle"--I love it!! Lady Aran also sounds awesome :-) They all do, y'know.

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    2. Rosie, this is super fun! So many great details. Here are my favorites:

      Liam Driscoll:
      -has shocking talent with the fiddle. (Love this!)
      -He learns about GIRLS. (LOL)

      Grania Cassidy:
      -Walks like a cat and has a low, oily voice. (Nice detail.)
      -She has a baby, born with a deformed foot, that she abandons on the street. (This is shocking, but makes us wonder about why she did it.)

      Dr. Ivor Ruane:
      -Can dance like a grasshopper. (LOL! I can see this!)

      Lile:
      -Is secretly a wonderful hairdresser. (Fun detail.)
      -She decides that marrying a teasing stable-boy who doesn't possess an ounce of romance in his body isn't such a bad thing after all. (Very cute.)

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    3. Thanks, Mrs. Williamson!! I love that you liked all the details! I had a lot of fun putting them together. By the way, the fact that Lile is a wonderful hairdresser comes in super handy when they're trying to get Kaia together for the annual bonfire dance. Kaia has a rough, wild mane of hair. It's pretty, but VERY unmanageable :P Only Lile knows what to do with it!

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  8. Just last night, I wrote out all of my characters (main, side, and other) and gave them each a goal and a unique attribute. It was incredibly helpful. My current WIP is super different for me, there are about seven main characters...but definitely a lot of side ones. It's been difficult, but a good challenge! I'm already up to 4,261 words this month, having only began on March 1!

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  9. My protagonist is Isabella, self absorbed girl with the ability to become invisible

    Alice: Sister. Blond hair, blue eyes, telepathic caring. Born on same day as Isabella--not twins

    Grace: Sister. Brown hair, green eyes. Creative, optimistic. Can time travel. She's the one of the MCs in the sequel. Born on same day as isabella

    Lydia: Friend. Smart and musically talented

    Mia: Friend. Athletic

    Carma: Helps/teaches Isabella. Telepathic, eventually betrays her

    Jimmy: Also helps Isabella. Can teleport.
    Scarlet Maze plumber

    Scarlet: Great Aunt of Isabella. Multiple abilities including invisibility and telepathy. Antagonist

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  10. Here's the four things for one of my side characters, Borifas. I went a little overboard on the backstory, so sorry about that :). (BTW Dorlin is my protagonist):

    Borifas is Dorlin's uncle, only Dorlin doesn't know it and when Borifas tells him, doesn't believe it. Borifas helps Dorlin look for Gren'eldorf and later Servus, but afterwards becomes much closer to a friend. Dorlin dislikes him at first, but since Borifas has seen him use his powers, something he means to keep secret, he's stuck with him. The two grow close toward the end of the story.

    Borifas is broad, has a bushy red beard, muscled, but considered short.

    Towards the end of the story, Borifas can calm his fierce temper and keep his head cool during a challenge, and realizes that he can after all help the people he cares about.

    Okay, here's the super-long backstory. It's barely edited, so I apologize for any typos or erroneous grammar. Feedback is appreciated! :-)

    Borifas was raised in a small village at the border of the Vostol Forest, in Imperial territory, hunting and riding with his brother and occasionally his father. When he was fourteen, his village was raided by some barbarians and a Black Witch, seeding a fear of magic in Borifas, and the vow of always be prepared if ever something like that happens again. His father was killed in the raid, and his brother, who was many years elder to him, had moved to Corinth to work as a blacksmith; Borifas was forced to leave his village and wander the nearby towns, looking for an apprenticeship.
    A year passed, and Borifas lived off of hunting and foraging. Eventually he found a warrior and army commander from Imperia, Atallhiti, who was looking for an apprentice, and who saw potential in the boy. So Borifas went off to Imperia where he trained for several years and worked his way up the ranks.
    When he was 22 and his brother 26, he heard of the great fire at Darthúr, said to be an arson committed by the elves. His brother, his brother's wife, and his son had all perished. Borifas was ridden with sorrow, and maddened he couldn't have done anything to protect them. In the coming years he rised up the ranks rapidly and became a commander, just as Atallhiti retired.
    Eventually, he led a small battalion to Darthúr to quell the slave rebellion there, but it happened to be an ambush. After all, Darthúr used to be an elf town, and elves from deep in the forest were been hiding in the city. The fight was long and close, Borifas being insanely outnumbered. The elves were wielding magic, and remembering the raid all those years ago, Borifas briefly hesitated in the fight, and was struck down. His men didn't notice, being amid chaos, and he painfully crawled to safety and a bit far away from the fight. There, he passed out.
    When he wakes up, his men, presuming he deserted them, had left. Borifas felt awful. He had deserted his men for the first time, and he felt just like he did during the raid and when he learned of his brother's death. He realized that whoever or whatever he cares about withers and dies, so he became aloof and temperamental. He wandered in the forest for a while, hunting and foraging, selling what he kills, occasionally helping the locals with barbarian raids and getting paid well. Soon he decided to visit Darthúr again, and there, lying on the street, passed, was Dorlin Hull, and Borifas instantly recognizes him as his brother's son. He carried him to a nearby inn, and gives him some basic first aid that he had learnt from his time in the army. When he learned that Dorlin is hunting down an old rival, he decides to help him for old times' sake.

    That's where the story picks off, roughly. Thanks!

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  11. Here's my character board.

    The board covers all of my minor characters along with the main ones, because I didn't want to spend loads of time in drafting trying to remember hair color, etc. I find it helpful to my brainstorming when I can see everyone's face, even if they're only in a few scenes.

    Baba:
    1. Grandfather to Sami. Baba is Sami's "heart" - If he doesn't make it, Sami won't.
    2. Afghan man, older, bristly beard, famous musician in Afghanistan, tanboor player, struggling with depression
    3. He held everything together after his son and daughter-in-law were killed and he had to flee with Sami, but now the weight of everything is catching up. Though he tries to shield Sami from it, his spirit is near broken.
    4. Baba has only had Sami for so long. As Sami makes friends/connections, Baba is initially wary of losing him. It's only after Baba learns to embrace the new community that Sami (and the others) are able to restore his hope.

    Dan:
    1. Dan is Sami's self-appointed [best] friend and the kid who connects Sami to everyone else
    2. Caucasian boy, blond-haired/gray-eyed, loud and extroverted, loves soccer, loves video games
    3. Dan's dad was in the army and cheated on his mom during deployment, and since has basically abandoned Dan and his mother. For all his boisterous personality, Dan is terrified of being alone.
    4. Dan latches onto Sami during a vulnerable time in his own life, when his old default friends are moving into dangerous behavior territory. By helping Sami in his quest, Dan creates distance from the wrong path, with Sami (literally, at one point) standing between him and trouble. Dan's loyalty to Sami is rewarded in kind.

    Layla (probably my roughest):
    1. Layla is Sami's friend and the embodiment of hope
    2. African-American girl, sporty, perceptive, smart, wears her hair braided in beads. Not the nerd/brains, per se, but she picks up on things the boys miss and helps add intention to their strategies.
    3. Layla likes Sami. (Sami's not going to know this in the scope of the story.)
    4. Layla is very interested in connections, stability, and balance. Or in more middle school terms: She likes fixing things. Her hope and optimism are challenged as she becomes involved in the 4th of July disaster, before being restored by the conclusion of the quest.

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    1. Wow! This is so great! I love all your characters! Good job :)

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  12. - Ala Alora Alendor

    (1) Ala is Avartes's sister, and often talks him out of doing immoral things.

    (2) Ala is the only remaining wood elf other than Avartes, and unlike Avartes she still wears Lorian crafted clothes.

    (3) She became a master killer in the ten years she was separated from Avartes, but wishes to redeem herself without telling Avartes of her crimes.

    (4) Throughout the story she will become more and more of the killer her trainer wanted her to be, and eventually even betray Avartes.


    -Silloen le Fay
    (1) When Avartes is thrown in prison, Silloen helps him out despite disliking him in return for his help in finding the King's Gem.

    (2) She has weak telekinetic powers, and her eyes are a very bright blue.

    (3) She accidentally helped the thief steal the King's Gem, and she is being influenced by it herself.

    (4) She eventually grows fond of Avartes, but before she can say it she is murdered by the Bringer of the End.

    -Wiggleberry
    (1) He is kind of like a token to Avartes, reinforcing his belief to never trust anyone. Wiggleberry was the pet to Viseya Silvermoon, who was murdered by Avartes's only friend.

    (2) He is small and dragon like, and speaks with a high pitched voice.

    (3) He is the only side character with no dark secret or important backstory, but he did live in Hethria for a while; with the High Mage Sarolen.

    (4) He becomes the only one Avartes Can trust after his sister betrays him.

    -Prince Vaeyr Shaller

    (1) Certain that Avartes is a good person, Veayr works with him loyally, though hiding from his father.

    (2) Very noble appearance, and extremely honorable.

    (3) He secretly made a pact with the thief and gave him the Kings Gem in exchange for Silloens safety.

    (4) He dies before any character devolpment can be made...

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  13. Sara:
    1.Kimmie's best friend (Kimmie is one of my two main characters)
    2. Long red hair, loves pranks, super observant, small
    3. Sara wants to be a writer, but only Kimmie knows because her family wouldn't approve. They want her to be a doctor or a lawyer.
    4. Sara will learn that she should follow her dreams.

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  14. Tia Ramon- The only girl in Ramon dynasty history to survive to adulthood. She specializes in close weaponless combat and sniping. She reads slow because she learned to read later in life. Her dark hair is pulled back in a pony-tail and she only wears practical, non-descript clothes. She is the protagonist.

    Russet Hunter- Tia's only friend. A lawyer turned criminal turned FBI agent. He is the motivation.

    Thrash- The current head of the Ramon dynasty and Tia's father. His death sets the story in motion.

    Trevor- Tia's oldest brother. His greatest desire is to be the next head of the Ramon dynasty. He specializes in close combat with weapons.

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  15. My story is a contemporary retelling of Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo, so I knew I wanted to include more artists from that time period - and a female one, as you almost never hear about female great artists. Raphael is the third great artist from the Italian Renaissance, and so to add a little gender diversity I made my biggest side character Rachael, a gender-bent Raphael. Rachael:
    - Colors her hair ALL THE TIME. One week it's sapphire blue, the next it's neon green, the next it's red dip-dye. It's become a guessing game between Michael and Leonard to figure out what she'll dye her hair next.
    - She's their mutual friend. Throughout the course of the story, as their friendship falls apart, she's the vehicle through which we can see what the other is thinking. For example, if they fight and it's shown from Michael's POV, we can have him talk to Rachael about it so the audience can get a vague idea of what Leonard was thinking during the fight. (Not too specifically, though.)
    - She works at Starbucks
    - She's an artist too (obviously) and her favorite medium is charcoal.

    Ellie | On the Other Side of Reality

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    1. I LOVE your concept so much! It's very original, the characters look pretty cool (especially Rachael since you showcased her, and she's a genderbent Raphael, has the ability to dye her hair all those cool colors, and works at a coffee place (the setting possibilities!) (really original character concept)), and the introduction really made the facts meaningful and cool. Sorry for the probably incoherent rant, but your story has my admiration:)

      (sorry if I misspelled anything, my laptop gets a little overwhelmed at updates and messes with things).

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  16. I can't believe I was so late to this awesome post even though I was gone all day. I love side characters so much:) Definitely going to have to check out all these comments.

    My MC in my high fantasy WIP is Immi'Re, an Egyptian assassin known for backstabbing everyone who tries to get close. However, she has one friend who has stayed by her, Foxy. Ever since Immi'Re helped her overcome the gender discrimination in the criminal underground, Foxy has been indebted to Immi'Re.
    Foxy:
    -Foxy is very tall and muscular with a build as rough as her personality allowing her to pass as a guy when needed.
    -Foxy is Immi'Re's best friend, but her relations with the other characters (including Immi'Re's love interest) are often playfully antagonistic, though she comes through when it counts.
    -However loyal a friend, Foxy's true identity at the beginning of the story is obscured and twisted by her own deceptions and self-fear. By the end, Foxy lets go of her fear and false identities so she can be herself.

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  17. Gustav:
    1. Halvard’s best friend.
    2. Tall, muscular, wears a coat lined with rabbit fur, carefully combed dark hair, always grinning, scar on his right cheek from a Creeper, carries a mirror in his pocket, bouncy walk, very vain
    3. Is actually half-Frost Giant, something that he hides from everybody, even Halvard.
    4. Gustav will learn how to accept that, one, he’s not the best at everything ever and, two, he doesn’t have to hide that he’s a half-blood.

    Kalecrof:

    1. Contagonist to Halvard.
    2. Big, bald, tattoos covering nearly every inch of skin visible, carries a battle-hammer, arrogant smirk, bruised knuckles, scruffy,
    3. Kalecrof is the illegitimate son of an important warrior called Veekvard, something that is very stigmatized in the Skadi society. Nobody ever acknowledges it.
    4. He’ll finally stop having such an inferiority complex and he’ll acknowledge Halvard’s worth and accomplishments, beginning a friendship with him of sorts.

    Gunilla:

    1. Contagonist to Sigfrid and Guardian to Halvard.
    2. Elegant, muscular, long dresses, a bronze crown, long red hair, beautiful, cold, firm, sad eyes when her facade falls.
    3. Gunilla gave up her elder daughter to the Dragon Guides when it was discovered that she was magical, something that resulted in her death. She’s never forgiven herself.
    4. She’ll forgive herself for the death of her daughter. And she’ll stop mourning her husband and will fully move on.

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  18. YES! Characters are my FAV part of writing. Here's a few of my side characters. (P.S. I changed my story to a draft that, after reading through, needs a serious rewrite. While I liked my other idea, I don't have time to start another project)

    Adeline:
    1) Antagonist
    2) Beautiful blonde hair, fair skin, acts wicked but is secretly angry and depressed
    3) Adeline lived a rich life until her mother died and her father married a woman who could take care of her as he ran off and pretty much abandoned her. the woman and her two daughters live in a poor town where Adeline is stripped down to nothing with a family that isn't sure if they can afford one more meal
    4) she'll finally come to terms with her step-sister (Raven), and maybe finally get over her mother and move on

    Henry (this character is totally new and wasn't in the first draft):
    1) Skeptic
    2) big smile, shaggy brown hair, a limp in his right leg (making it hard to find work)
    3) After some accident that i'll make up later, Henry's leg doesn't work as it used to, and it's impossible to find work. He's eventually hired by the Schröder family to look after their dying mother. After a few years, when money becomes an issue, he's paid in food and a place to stay when his family's gone (for some reason or another)
    4) At first, Henry will be more worried about the family and raven's survival instead of her emotions and what shes going through. but as the plot progresses, Raven and Henry will start to become close until Henry becomes Raven's shoulder to lean on when bad stuff happens. and then he dies in the next scene, because i'm feeling particularly evil.

    ~K.A.C.

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  19. I'm still trying to invent/revise my side characters, and I only have one that I've made a lot of development on.

    Emil Vaughn -

    1| Emil is Ty's (protagonist) love interest.

    2| Scruffy brown hair, large child-like eyes, rather short, looks thirteen but is actually seventeen, always wears sports merchandise (particularily football related) or athletic clothing, has a deep and booming voice even when he's not trying to be loud (which he isn't, by nature), speech is very apprehensive with lots of um's and uh's sprinkled in and the occasional stutter, incredibly shy but is rather brave.

    3| Emil is used to being underestimated due to his height and youthful appearance. Often, he gets the short end of the stick. He finds it very hard to stand up for himself and wishes to prove that he's just as capable as anyone else his age, even if he doesn't look his age.

    4| Not quite sure at the moment, but in general, he will have managed to finally prove himself and (being the love interest) snagged Ty's affections. :P

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