Are your minor characters REALLY necessary?
I know, it’s a loaded question. You’re probably attached to your cast by now, if you’re out of the planning stages. That’s why it’s so important to analyze your character crew before you start writing that first draft. What’s the use of writing, and fleshing out, several minor characters if they’re of no use in the first place?
That’s what we’re going to discuss today.
As student writers, we can’t afford to waste our time. Minor characters that add little to the plot are time-wasters. Minor characters that add nothing to the development of major characters are time-wasters. So, what can we do to make sure we don’t waste our time?
Analysis of our minor characters can determine whether they deserve to stay, or if they should be tossed with the Tuesday garbage. It’s easy to analyze our characters, especially minor ones.
You can start by doing something very simple.
Ask yourself the following questions when you’re questioning your minor character’s usefulness. (Oh, I crack myself up sometimes.)
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You’re writing. Your fingers can’t keep up with the words floating around your mind. Then, without warning, the Inner Critic crawls onto your shoulder. It whispers its dishonest remarks in your ear. Your fingers freeze with the realization that the Critic is right. You can’t write another word.
So, you scroll back through the words you wrote earlier. The Critic goes to work, and repeats its insults. You think. You agree with the critic again. Now, writing seems like a chore. You slink away from your keyboard, and hang your head like a scolded dog. You feel like one.
Does that little tale sound familiar? Chances are, it does. And that’s a shame. In this post, I’m going to talk about ten things the Inner Critic tells us, and why it’s right.
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A while back, I mentioned in the first post of the How to Be a Writer series, about “plotters” and “pantsers”. Today, I’d like to go into more detail about those two terms. They’re pretty important words in the writing world, because they explain in a single word what your writing process is. Once you discover your writing process, the writing life becomes much easier.
(If you already know if you’re a plotter or pantser, skip these sections to get some serious writing resources.)
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