A Cafe For Authors and Avid Readers
The next part, from my perspective, is the supporting characters. Once again, I think it is essential that the writer have a clear picture of what drives each character, be they a help or a hindrance to the hero or the villain. People do things for one of two reasons, and those two reasons are to make sure something does happen or to make sure it doesn't. O know a lot of people think their characters should behave logically,but my experience with people in therapy for the last 25 years is that people are not driven by logic, but by feelings. Even if they do not recognize or admit to them, feelings are what propel us in any given direction in reaction to what we experience. I always have a complete backstory to each character, major or minor, so that I know what motivates them to action and to what kind of action .
A supporting character is there to provide the impetus for a major character to take the next step, He, or she, is the reason our hero takes action., They are the glue that holds everyone together, and as such, some are expendable. While I do not like to kill off a friendly character, sometimes it is necessary in order that their death provide a motivation for some action b y the hero, or to bring something to light the hero was unaware of. Yes, sometimes they are for comic relief, but their behavior should always advance the story in some way. They can do it through insight, accident, or even through their bumbling, but they do provide a service to the story if they are believable,. Having a supporting character who is unbelievable destroys a story's credibility and reader investment. Ideally, the reader should be able to relate to each character, positively or negatively, and see someone they know or knew in them. The reader should NEVER say I say that coming unless there is a reason for them to see 'it' coming. That is the function of the supporting character, to give the plot a push in the desired direction. I want my readers to care about every character.
I have also learned through my twenty-five years of clinical practice, that no one is all good or all bad, We all have elements of both nature, which are formed through our early experiences and trials. I would image that most of you have had a vaccination at one time or another. In case you didn't know what is in a vaccination, it is a weakened form of the disease you are being protected against. In my line of work, childhood is our vaccination for adulthood. If we get to experience a wide range of feelings, and learn how to deal with them as children, we can deal with them as adults. My supporting characters have to have weaknesses, as does the hero, formed out of their early experiences that didn't go well. It is these experiences that will compel them to act in a certain way, and that is why I take the time to know them from childhood before I start telling the the story.
I want to be sure of how they will act in response to the situations they are going to find themselves. I need to know what moves them to action and why, or else the story and their part in it, will not ring true for me or the reader.
Next up, what drives me to write and what my central theme always is.
As always, I would love to hear back from someone.