io9.com: 10 Secrets to Creating Unforgettable Supporting Characters

Charlie Jane Anders wrote an article at io9.com about Creating Unforgettable Supporting Characters.

I’ve included the summary list, you’ll have to go to the post to see the explanations.

  1. Give them at least one definition characteristic.
  2. Give them an origin story.
  3. Make sure they talk in a distinctive fashion.
  4. Avoid making them paragons of virtue, or authorial stand-ins.
  5. Anchor them to a particular place.
  6. Introduce them twice — the first time in the background, the second in the foreground.
  7. Focus on what they mean to your protagonists.
  8. Give them an arc — or the illusion of one.
  9. The more minor the character, the more caricature-like they may have to be.
  10. Decide which supporting characters you’ll allow to be forgettable after all.

This has obvious use with Nonplayer Characters in roleplaying games.

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