Writers Boot Camp: Side Characters

Of course, with any good story, comes the side characters to support it.

Let me put it like this:

Support walls are taken for granted until the ceiling falls in.

Now the image is in your head of your side characters (that you most likely haven’t created yet), are stuck in a wall, I’d just like to say, welcome back to Week Four of Boot Camp.

You seem to be shaping up very nicely.

You’re story is slowly starting to come along, and now we’ve reached a key part.

If you couldn’t tell-it’s our side characters, the important best-friend, but not the main character.

Of course, every story has the following Side character:

The bully

The best friend.

However, your story has to hold more then these two bits of information, so let’s explore the world of creating your characters.

1. Start with the supportive role-the Best Friend

Or at the very least, the key influencial person in your main character’s life.

Try to pick out traits that your character doesn’t posses, and add them into the story. Perhaps your main character is a bit more impulsive, however the advice-giving character would most likely be a little bit more thought out, or perhaps it’s the other way around, either way, make sure that there is a chance for conflict, even if the characters lack that later on the story-this gives a few opportunities to help cut back on writer’s block, if need be.

2. Note the Important Characteristics

While you won’t need to know specifically if your Supporting-side-role is a Crest toothpaste fan, or not (unless you have a seen for that, planned, in which case, I chime in to say the whitening tooth paste does not, in fact, work), you will need to have an idea of characteristics that stick out in the character’s personality, such as being an eternal optimist, or having a dog fetish (I NEED TO KNOW, for scientific reasons, of course).

3. Don’t forget the negative traits – Just to sprinkle in the drama….

*spills vat of quarks and qualms into character*

Make certain that the side characters aren’t just very wise, and incredibly in tune with emotions and life itself. (Or in some stories cases, completely ignorant with a splash of annoying). Perhaps you’re character is an eternal optimist, toward everyone else, however, they make self-deprecating jokes. Or they are incredibly confident, and have a tendency to be over baring.The choice is yours, just avoid over-exaggerating.

4. Don’t be afraid to give your side-characters as much depth as your main character. Harry Potter wouldn’t have been as good with Dumbledore, or the Weasley twins. The same concept goes for Guardians of the Galaxy, or even Little Women.

5. Build a back story for your character. It can be easy to let it slip by (or even over build), a back story for your side character. Perhaps their parents are divorced, or they have a good home life, but something is still holding them back? Why is that?

*To avoid over-building, try to get the basics, but don’t go from age one to their current age, as nice as it might be, you’re characters side characters also should not take up ALL or even a majority of the story. This could also be helpful, should you decide that you want to write a book surrounding a side character.

Okay, now this is just a general run-down of how to build your side characters, understand that they aren’t an under-rated main character, they’re just as important.

I expect to see you back next week, ready to take on the next part of this boot camp.

Be practicing.

Stay Ginchy!


Writing Emotions: Positive Emotions

Right, positive emotions. We have only positivity here folks, no self-deprecating thoughts, no sad emotions.

That’s right, let’s wash that all away, and acknowledge that we’re all beautiful amazing, creative people, who are slaying the writing game.

That being said, positive reactions to certain situations can be a bit more… complicated, so here’s my short guide to Positive Emotions, for your Positive…and you’re less positive characters.

  •   Moody Characters: These characters are the type who are more commonly written to “smirk”, then to smile *ahem* that’s a lie. If you’re trying to write them like an actual attitude-induced person, then please take it from your local expert, (me), that they aren’t actually cold, and they might smirk if it’s kinda funny, but don’t forget to write the inner charm, and make sure to write the smile that reaches the eyes.

*When writing this character, make certain that they’re not so broken that they can’t laugh at a comedy show, or smile at a video of a Step-Dad being given adoption papers. This wouldn’t make them moody, this would make them numb. They still are humans, and their loved ones aren’t the only ones who can make them giggle-they are, however, the only one’s that can light up their face, and that is the most positive reaction of them all.

  •  The Bubbly Character: The bubbly characters love when everybody is laughing, and nine-times-out-of-ten, won’t fully be laughing until everybody else is. These characters are usually more in tuned with positive emotions of others and will never feel laughter, unless everybody else is.

*All to often, bubbly characters are written to be the positive outlet, smiling at all times, and this is true, HOWEVER, in retrospect, they would more likely work themselves to stress trying to make someone smile, then they would be focused on their own.

  • The Edgy Character: They have a crass sense of humor, I’ll give you that. George in Rampage, is a brilliant depiction of an edgy character. He might be the type to cringe at a dad joke, but will definitely crack a smile at a “Guess I’ll die” joke. They wouldn’t be the type to laugh so much at a comedy routine, but at a fart joke during church.

*Edgy characters are more of the “class-lacking” type if you will, and can easily become that annoying kid in class that everybody hates, but can’t help but laugh at. However, even in the laughter, don’t be afraid to peel the layers in a character, and definitely DO NOT, leave the “Suicide” jokes lying in a book, without a clear up in what the character might be going through. They might act like a living meme, but like the meme-makers, or the scene-makers (from the show/movie/picture), their’s usually a deeper, or more hidden meaning.

  •  The Drama Character: You know, the ones that role their eyes at the edgy ones, get upset over simple jokes, but will definitely know how to “guffaw” too much at others jokes that they’re trying to suck up too. Usually, though, even though I’d like to say that they have a sense of humor, something tells me that even a Best Man Joke at a Wedding speech would kill them.

*Please DO NOT write a drama character without a soul, though, they might laugh, HOWEVER, as I mentioned, most jokes frustrate them, intentionally, or unintentionally.

  • Numb Characters: They’re numb, they won’t laugh, and with these characters, now’s about a good time to bust those bad-boys write open, and let your characters get a good idea of who they are.

*By this, I mean if someone asks why they aren’t enjoying it, they’d probably tell them why. Avoid too many emotions, and more specifically, watch the movements, all too often body positions can be taken the wrong way, so if they’re stance was defeated shoulders, one might expect sadness from them, rather then no emotions at all (more likely to use the “crossed arms” position, as this is a sign of close mindedness, and less attentive to what they might be hearing.

  •  The Wise Characters: These Characters laugh when they need, and smile the most, but given the chance, and they would most definitely use it for a lesson for both themselves and others.
  • The Intellectually Driven Ones: These characters wouldn’t be making only nerdy dad jokes, they’d also most commonly laugh at any joke that was correct, as in a joke about an impossible brain cancer wouldn’t be as funny as just a simple relatable joke about their mom.

*However, they common chance that they get stuck in a situation of laughter is rare, so be careful not to write it as a norm.

And guess what? That ends today’s short guide to Character Responses to laughter/playfulness. What are your thoughts? Is there anything I missed? How would you write these characters, and their responses? I’d love to hear!

Thanks for reading, and remember to live your life like the ginchy story that it is!