I have finished editing chapter 9. It is one of my favourite chapters as it is about a ball. I love balls, so I dedicated 24 pages to this glamorous event. When I was editing the chapter, I rewrote some of the dialogues to make them as sparkling as the ball room. More significantly, I had to exchange one of my minor characters. Such a change can be tricky.
Why did I exchange a character then? I had introduced a certain Lord Buckley in chapter 1. Lord Buckley is a minor character but also a strong one who drives events. At the beginning of the story he is the only character who dares to take on masterful Lady Linfield, and they often clash. Lord Buckley has actually developed a dynamic of his own. He wasn’t satisfied with his appearance in chapter 1, but demanded to be included in the story more often. In an interview, we agreed that he would return in chapter 9, replacing a meek character called Sir Matthew. Poor Sir Matthew was completely excluded from the story as a consequence.
Reemploying strong minor characters such as Lord Buckley is helpful. Here are some reasons why you should make the most out of those characters:
- By interacting with the main characters, a strong minor character can move the story along and drive change.
- Strong minor characters are entertaining. Your readers will like them.
- Having a character reappear makes a story more credible: In real life, you meet most persons more often than just once.
- Reemploying the same character in the story is preferable to introducing new characters. Readers are likely to get confused when you introduce to many characters.
When you have decided to let a minor character reappear in your story, it will be helpful to make notes about his/her individual characteristics of appearance and behaviour (read more about what to note here). Thus, when the character reappears later in the story, you can easily check what is special about him/her, and you don’t run the risk of accidentally changing the identifying features.
Lord Buckley, my minor character who demands so much space, is entertaining to work with. I am sure he will pop up again in the story. He still has much potential.