NaNoCoDo #9 Supporting Cast

By now, you should be on good terms with your Main Character and their partner / sidekick / love interest. But you’re gonna need more people to make a decent book of their adventures. Each of these needs you to keep some records of them.

As a rule of thumb, the bigger a character’s part will be, the more details you need to keep a note of. The two henchmen may not have names, but you need to remember the tall, skinny one’s ginger and the shorter one sweats when he runs – if these details are likely to crop up again. But the retired knight / policeman who’s teaching your heroine to fight needs a lot more description, as he’s going to stick around for a few chapters – and may sneak back in towards the end, too.

Don’t assume you’ll remember all the details without making a note – even if you do, what happens if you make a change? To remember everything in an up-to-date way would require a freakish memory and scrupulous attention to detail.

Similarly, don’t ever think it doesn’t matter – your readers WILL notice. They always do. It’s not just me!

It doesn’t matter whether these notes are in a notebook, electronic file or written on your bedroom wall – so long as you can refer to them all the time and update them when you need to.

As well as physical and character descriptions, you need to keep track of the relationships between your various characters. This could be a list of who’s going out with whom for a High School Romance story, a family tree for your inter-generational saga or a detailed hierarchy of both military and civilian characters (as in the great Russian epics).

If you’ve got multiple threads going on, you may want to use sticky notes to keep track of who’s in each group. Try colour-coding them for clarity.

Or you may have a better idea that works perfectly for you.

National Novel Writing Month starts on 1st November but the site is open for sign-ups now. If you don’t know what it’s about, have a read of my NaNoCoDo posts. If you think you’ve got a novel in you, why not sign up? What have you got to lose? <<– Sign up here.

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