When a Minor Character Becomes Major

You’re typing along about a scene with a character that you intend to have a minor role in the story or novel and suddenly realize you’ve unearthed a real nugget of gold. Your minor character has become major! What do you do now?

Option 1: Rethink Your Plot

Finding a real nugget of gold (or winning millions in the lottery) can send your life in another direction. Realizing that a minor character has much more potential and could therefore be a major character can send your plot off into a different direction. You will need to decide if you want this redirection or not. If you do, you could find yourself discovering that nugget is part of a whole vein of gold, adding a whole new dimension to your story.

For example, one of my minor characters in the manuscript covering Year 14 of the Freelan Nation is a gang leader. His role in the manuscript grew from a brief mention to being a symbol of those who have been drawn in and destroyed by the false idea of utopia. I could, of course, change his fate so that he lives and becomes an inspiration to others also caught up in that idea and steering them away to reality. The decision on that is still in progress.

Option 2: Spin Your Character Off

Rather than disrupt your plot flow, you can opt to spin the character off or grow his/her role in a sequel. Just like some popular supporting characters in TV series have been spun off over the years into their own series (Rhoda Morgenstern of The Mary Tyler Moore Show was spun off into the show Rhoda and Phyllis from that same show was spun off into Phyllis). Your formerly minor character might now get his own novel or story.

Think of Tiny Tim growing up and becoming Ebenezer Scrooge’s new clerk, replacing Tim’s father who is now retired. Or what about the pirate Smee in Peter Pan going ashore and buying a pub (inn or public house)?

Final Thoughts

Have fun with your characters and be open to them growing. You never know what treasure you’ll uncover.

Hope you found this helpful and have been inspired to start and/or continue writing!

More About Characters

Please check out my WIPs. And thanks for reading.

Disclaimer: I get no compensation for links in this post or on my site to other sites and/or products.


One thought on “When a Minor Character Becomes Major

  1. sandysaysread

    First: Let us all stand and applaud the fact WP is letting me make a comment.
    Second: Spin those characters off in short story/novella/appendix format to appease them, if for no other purpose. It makes them settle down so you can keep writing forward… 😉


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