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Minor fictional characters


Man in top hat with high white collar and a man on the shore of a loch. Grey skies overhead

Who are your favourite minor characters in a novel?

I'm not talking just about offsiders and sidekicks, but those characters sitting on the lower rung of importance and receiving far less page time than the main cast.


When it comes to classics like Lord of the Rings, I quite like the tavern owners and bar keeps. you know the ones, rough on the outside with well hidden hearts of gold on the inside. They seem to know very little yet are also entrusted with secrets and important messages. I suppose they're the


Minor characters are more than their ability to pass on just the right be of information to kick start a world saving quest. They're more than a bit of fill to keep the story moving. They'll have their own needs and wants that might not coincide with the heroine of the hour. What they want may or may not be obvious. It may not be particularly important, but showing that side of the character gives them an added depth.


In my novel, Keeper of the Way, one of my favourite minor characters is Mr Wilson Kent, Licensing Court Inspector and all round creepy guy trying to put Rosalie Ponsonby out of the hotel business. He's a corrupt misogynistic, power hungry, civil servant. But he too serves a purpose, if only to piss off Rosalie and create a little conflict.


Conflict turns up the screws on the protagonist, it forces them to dig deeper, and it’s far more engaging than watching characters agree about everything.

My other favourite character is Ross MacNab. It's Ross who leads the villainous Lord Algernon Benedict to Kilmarie on the Isle of Skye, thus setting in motion a whole range of events. Of course, he is much more than a disinterested travel guide. Perhaps one day he'll get his own little story. I certainly have enough back story on him to make it work.


In my next novel, there's a minor character who almost jumped up the rungs of importance. To keep her manageable, I had to change her name and promise another story just for her. Sometimes, it's all in the name.





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