It can be very challenging to make secondary and even tertiary character stand out in a story and not be overshadowed by the main characters.
Before discussing how to make them stand out, let’s define what secondary and tertiary characters are and how they impact the story.
Secondary characters typically impact the main storyline and/or the main character(s) in some meaningful way. They are more than filler or background material.
Secondary characters are also recurring character throughout the story and/or series. How often they pop up in scenes depends on the level of impact the have on the story or characters.
Secondary characters also have a moderate level of intimacy with at least one main character. This may come in the form of having known the character for a long time, having shared a difficult or meaningful experience, being a current main part of the character’s life, etc.
Tertiary character appear in a story once or only a handful of times. They may have some impact on a particular scene, but generally do not have a strong impact on the overall storyline or main character’s development.
Tertiary characters have a limited purpose. They may provide information on a particular subject, serve as a catalyst in a specific or limited way, introduce another character or situation, etc.
Tertiary characters typically have low intimacy with the main character(s). They may only know the MC incidentally, knew them in the past but lost touch, or even be a relative stranger who comes into a scene for one specific reason.
While developing secondary and tertiary characters, be sure to know which one a character is and what their purpose in the story is. This can help you determine how much effort to put into their development and how much to integrate them into a storyline.
***Apologies for being away from the blog for a few weeks. I was moving and without internet for a while. I’m back to regular, weekly blogs now!