Characters Part 5 – Stage Direction Characters

They came, they saw, the did nothing else. They’re stage direction.

The last character to define is the one who only comes on stage once, isn’t really acknowledged by any other character and never shows up again. That’s a stage direction character.

Do they show up once and never again?

 
The children pulled back when Tommy picked up the…”
Most readers who read the above want to know what Tommy picked up. The reason some of you want to know Tommy picked up is because “The children pulled back” and humans, because of the way we’re designed, want to know what’s causing defensive reactions (pulling back is a defensive, flight based reaction).
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Characters Part 4 – Minor Characters

Nobody cares who the masked man is if he doesn’t use his gun.

Are they noticed then forgotten?

 
Does a character not have a name but is noticed by primary or main characters? That’s a minor character. Minor characters show up once or twice in a story but interact with the primary and main characters to reveal something the author wants to reader to know.
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MindMaster Case File 455: The UnResponsive Male

She opened my office door and the room temperature went up ten degrees. She wore a wide brimmed blue fedora that slipped down, covering her face slightly and it was the only loose thing she wore. She was shaped like an hourglass and it was only a few minutes past the hour. Her fedora matched her eyes and there was a cool shower of blond hair framing her northern european features. I noticed this even though I could hear my mother telling me it was impolite to stare.

The lady in the fedora said, “May I come in?”

I was going to comment that some of her all ready had but my tongue was too busy falling out the side of my mouth to form words. “Ungh-nghe,” I said.
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Characters Part 3 – Secondary Characters

Do they get a name? Are they uniquely described or identified?

 
Does a character provide focus but not often? Do other characters in the story know them by name or by some unique attribute or description?

Any character that gets a name or is unique description/identification is at least secondary and perhaps primary.

Naming Names
Any named character becomes important due to human psychology; describe someone as “a waiter” and we’ve described their function, describe someone as “Bobbie the waiter” and we’ve given them an identity.
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Characters Part 2 – Primary Characters

What these people doing on these pages?

This is the third installment in a series I’m doing on StoryCrafting. We started with Revision and followed that with Characters Part 1 – Main, Principal, Central.

One of the comments I often get regarding my novel Empty Sky is the number of primary characters it contains.

Primary characters?

Yes! You know those characters that are neither main protagonist nor main antagonist yet without whom your story wouldn’t exist? Those are what I call primary characters. A working story with only two characters (and those two characters better be your protagonist and antagonist) is going to be either brilliant or short and perhaps both. Often those two characters needs to be complex to make the story interesting. A story with only one or two characters of only one- or two-dimensions that’s interesting…well, I haven’t read one (and am open to suggestion).
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