Writers: Attention Seeking Minor Characters – Blessing or a Curse? #WritingCommunity

Currently rolling my eyes at a minor character who has ideas well above his station.

There’s nothing worse than trying to write a scene and being distracted by some diva of a minor character who believes you made a big mistake when main character roles were handed out.

Some minor characters are born into your story knowing they are NEVER going to be centre stage and make it their fictional LIFE AMBITION to change this. 

What I want to know is whether attention seeking minor characters are a blessing or a curse to us writers?

Attention seeking minor characters can be a pain. They can be hard to control and if left to their own devices they will frustrate the hell out of the writer and take the story in an unwanted direction.

Minor characters can also turn into sparkly objects, especially when things get tough in stories. It’s no surprise after EIGHT drafts sweating I have found myself getting side tracked by someone funny, energetic and desperate for my attention. I end up finding myself writing about him when I should be writing about the main characters.

Needy minor characters can send your story down a new rabbit hole and at editing stage you can end up deleting pages as they got way more limelight than planned.

However, I don’t think they are all bad.

Attention seeking minor characters are trying to tell us something about our story or cast of characters.

The questions I think need answering when faced with an attention seeking minor character are:

  • Is there a reason why I am being pulled in another direction?
  • Is this character actually trying to help me?
  • Is he stealing the limelight away from my main characters for a reason?
  • Does he have a stronger voice than my main character?

I also think they tell you that you need to tighten up your book plan and not let them run riot.

So, I am going to sit on the fence and say attention seeking minor characters are both a blessing and a curse.

Please let me know your thoughts on this hot topic!

Have a good day!


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Still waiting for the Sleepless in Seattle film sequel. Romcom Author. Book Blogger. Mum of teens. Owned by a golden Labrador.

18 thoughts on “Writers: Attention Seeking Minor Characters – Blessing or a Curse? #WritingCommunity

  1. I’m inclined to agree with you: they’re both a blessing and a curse. A blessing, because they can be interesting, and potentially take your story in directions you hadn’t considered. A curse, because they can be distracting, and make you follow threads that have nothing to do with your story, which means a lot of revising later. Sometimes you have to promise them their own story to get them to behave in this one, which can also be both a blessing and a curse.

  2. They can be so ungrateful! You give them one job to do and they think it entitles them to star billing. Having said that, some of them have interesting backstories, worth exploring in their own right.

  3. Or one way to deal with them, is to have a word, and promise them a book of their own, if they step back a little in this one! 😜

  4. I always believe in listening to my characters, but reserve to the right to choose whether to take any notice. Having said that, I have promised to give one of them a starring role in my next book!

  5. I love the surprises minor characters can give you. The question is whether to use the surprise.
    I think the best thing to do, as some of the other comments say, is to promise them a starring role in their own story.
    From this point of view, I would say they are a blessing, because there’s a character, if not completely made, well on the way for another book.

  6. If a minor character is running away with the show throw an obstacle in their way. If they trip up problem sorted. If they clear it they deserve a bigger role (promote to a major role), so again problem sorted. But what if they are trying to usurp the MAIN character? I still don’t think this a curse because their rise is telling you something. Either your main character is weak and needs strengthening – or you’ve picked the wrong character for the top job.

  7. Yes, I’ve had a few of them. “My story is so interesting.” so I look at what I’m writing and either find a way to smooth the minor character’s story in because sometimes it can flow with the main character. I guess an example would be Sam from Lord of The Rings.

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