My Process – Discovering Supporting Characters

On Wednesday, I shared how I went about meeting Nessix, only knowing that she had to meet Mathias, and how we all found the continent of Elidae together. At the time, that was exciting enough on its own, but then came a problem…

Remember how I said writers ask a lot of questions?

I had to ask the most basic one that a character-driven author can ask. Who are your friends?

It wasn’t enough to just say all she needed was Mathias, because she did have a past that didn’t involve him. So, what had that past been?

I’d known from the start that she was the stereotypical Fantasy hero(ine) that had no living parents, so who did she have? Even through her faults, one of Nes’s distinguishing traits has always been her love of others, and she had to have had it fostered from somewhere. She couldn’t have a brother, as he’d have taken the role of General from her, and so Nessix suggested she had a protective cousin named Brant. The problem with Brant was that he had a similar – possibly more extreme – stubborn streak than Nes, so I asked who was there to keep her out of trouble.

This is where En, her patient and wise grandfather came from. After him, I met Sulik, Nes’s second commander and a character I didn’t initially know how else he fit in. Running off the whole “trust what your brain gives you” technique I mentioned before, I ran with it. I didn’t know why we needed Sulik, but Nessix did, and that was what was important at this stage.

So, now Nessix had her delightful supporting cast! What next?

There is conflict in life. Always. Nessix had already told me her mother died in childbirth and a heart attack had claimed her father, but that wasn’t plot enough. What forces had she been fighting against?

The search for plot led me to – you guessed it! – another character, Veed. I met him independently of Nes, so got his take on the story first hand, and I’ll just say… I have a (twisted) soft spot for characters like him. He’d been the best friend of Nes’s father and abandoned her shortly after the old general died. I knew there was delicious back story here, but I would wait on that. I had Nes’s conflict, and next Tuesday, I’ll explain the rabbit hole I took to figure out the plot that led Mathias to Elidae – and, consequently, the plot of my Tale of the Fallen series – in the first place.

With the weekend just around the corner, I hope all of you have something good to read (for me, it’s The Way of Kings) or write (Tale of the Fallen’s Book Two, Deception)! I’d love to hear what literary activities you’ve got planned! As always, keep faith in the journey.



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