Tag: for writers

June 6, 2011 /
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May 11, 2011 /
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April 27, 2011 /
April 20, 2011 /

In building a story, we often have at least two different columns on our tracking sheets: one for characters, and one for setting. What goes in the one column does not go in the other. But as I said in last week’s “Worldbuilding Wednesday,” the environment can act as a character in its own right. Today, I’m talking about the converse to that. The characters that are actually setting in your story.

Not every living being in your story can be the star. Or even a major player. Many are just bit parts; walk-ons who deliver a line or perform an action or two, then fade back into the scenery, their main purpose being to populate a world that your mains are affecting. Yes, these characters all have stories of their own–Henchman A is really a sweet family guy who loves kittens and is only working for the Evil Overlord because the benefits are good and he has a sick daughter who wants to play piano.

We can’t afford to distract the reader with Henchman A’s sad story of pathos, because it takes away from the main storyline and our deliberate subplots. Of course, Henchie might just become Sequel Bait in the future, but that takes work, planning, and a brutally honest writer to figure out whether or not Henchie deserves to be Sequel Bait, or just Cannon Fodder.

April 11, 2011 /