Your Supporting Cast


Posted On Oct 16 2013 by

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Welcome to Day 7 of NaNoPlotMo. Today we’re going to build our supporting cast and give them goals. Keep in mind that a major character is one who appears in at least three scenes. For the novice writer, we want to keep that cast to as few as we can get away with. Each genre has different cast requirements. In general, though, try to keep your cast to 5 or 6, besides the protagonist and antagonist.

Goals make your story

You’ve created a list of goals for your protagonist and antagonist. If you create a table, you can list the generic name for your goals down the left side of the page, then your characters across the top. In each field, you can write an abbreviated specific of that goal (ie. House train dog).

Your generic goals, if you recall, were things like:

Story
Financial
Romantic
Marriage
Career
etc.

The key here is to have each character share a generic goal with your protagonist. For example, your character “Susan” may have a romantic goal, a career goal, and a financial goal. I’d keep it at three or less goals for the supporting characters. You don’t want them taking over the story. And think about how they will interact. Susan’s romantic goal may be to win over Bob. Bob’s marriage goal is to keep his wife, Cheryl. Cheryl’s career goal may be to impress her boss, Susan. Get it? A simple graph like this can get the wheels turning.

Time to make a story!

You’ve probably already got some characters in mind. So lets get your list of goals down. Then list your characters across the top. You can use index cards if you wish. But start thinking how all these characters can interact. Make a game of it.

This is also the time to see if you need another character. No goal should only have one character attached (my opinion). Or, as is often the case, we see two characters pretty much serving the same purpose. Combine them into one character.

Got it? This is where it starts to get fun. Your entire novel is about to be laid out in a one page grid. Go ahead. Tomorrow, we’ll translate these goals into story beats. This is a big step and you’ll need days, maybe weeks, to complete it. But it will produce a working outline for your story. And you, my friends, will be ready to write a sellable novel in November.

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Last Updated on: October 16th, 2013 at 6:36 am, by Ron


Written by Ron

Just about everything I believe has been shaped by the written word. But books don't force a belief; they stir the imagination so that you, the reader, eventually draw your own conclusions. We grow richer in spirit when we read, deeper in our understanding of the universe and our role in it. That's why I read. That's why I write. To offer you a bit of myself. Come along on my journey, won't you? There's plenty of room.


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