How to Write Interesting Supporting Characters

July 15, 2015 by No Comments

How to Write Interesting Supporting CharactersOften the most interesting characters in books and stories are not the main characters but the supporting ones such as Han Solo in Star Wars or Nancy from Oliver Twist. Today will be looking at how to make your supporting characters interesting within their own right. However, first we need to answer the question, why are interesting supporting characters important? You’ll find the answer below the break.

Why Write Interesting Supporting Characters

The answer is simple, the more interesting all your characters are, the more your readers will enjoy reading your story. There is nothing worse reading about a single fully rounded character living in a world of cardboard cut outs. Ava Jae breaks this answer down into three different areas in her article How to Write Strong Supporting Characters on Writability, They are:

  • They have their own lives and backstories
  • Their world doesn’t revolve around the protagonist
  • They have their own motivations

Of course each point comes with a paragraph of detail that explains the reasons behind each point as well as showing strong supporting characters deepen the story you are trying to tell. Check out How to Write Strong Supporting Characters on Writability to find out more.

Three Goals for Every Character

When trying to meet each of Ava‘s points, a simple rule from Moody Writing will help
Three Goals for Every Character

In the article of the same name, they list the three goals as:

  1. Professional – a job that needs to be done
  2. Private – something that the character wants for themselves
  3. Personal – the psychological needs of the character



Moody Writing then goes onto to look at goal in quite a bit of detail with suggestions peppered throughout on how you can avoid making these goals feel cliched. With that in mind Three Goals for Every Character is well worth your time so give it a read.

How do you make your supporting characters interesting? Tell us in the comments below!

How to Write Interesting Supporting Characters from @WLWriters (Tweet this writing advice)

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