Co-Starring your Secondary Characters

The stories I write always have a strong protagonist with an obvious arc of change for the character.

It’s the second tier characters I often forget, but they also deserve growth. I’ve been using a technique to recheck how they come in and out of the story that has provided excellent results:

The current story I’m checking is 42,000 words. If credits were rolling then it might look something like this:








The co-stars are often difficult to keep track of, as they are not in every scene. I used to read the entire story trying to keep track of each character’s action and dialog. This way though is quicker:

I position the cursor at the beginning of the story and do a search for one of the names. I then copy that scene and continue on through the story until all the scenes with that character are in separate file. It’s like a mini-story with the co-star as the main focus. By isolating on one character, I’m able to make sure the character’s growth makes sense and that they don’t repeat themselves. It takes me about 45 minutes for each character, but in the end I’m able to make each of them stronger and in turn do the same for my story.


I’ll leave you with this MG Feel Good Video of the Week…

About Greg Pattridge

Climbing another mountain...writing middle grade novels.
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3 Responses to Co-Starring your Secondary Characters

  1. That is a feel good story, Greg. Thanks for posting that. I love your method of gathering scenes by character and looking at their growth. What a great idea! Thanks for sharing that with us. I might try that. It sounds really useful.

  2. absolutely…the best books have great characters all around, not just a tight MC. I just finished Jenny Han’s books and she has the strongest side characters!

  3. Love the character scene mash idea.

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