background of minor characters

by Sarah

Question: How do I reveal the background of my minor character, who is my main character's best friend, in third person POV?

Answer: If you mean third person limited (i.e. in the main character's POV), some options include...

1. Revealing what the main character knows of his friend's background in the narration.

2. The main character telling someone about his friend.

3. The best friend talking about his past.

4. Someone else talking about the friend's past.

5. The main character stumbling upon documentation or evidence of the friend's past.

6. A character from the friend's past turning up and forcing some of the above to happen.

7. Perhaps an authority arrives to probe into the friend's past, which forces some of the above to happen.

These are all ways that the main character can either reveal what he knows about his friend or learn information about his friend.

All this assumes that the friend's past is relevant or necessary to the reader's understanding of what's happening in the present. You don't want a lengthy, irrelevant infodump. Sometimes it's enough that you, the writer, know what's going on so you know how a character should react to things.

Of course, third person omniscient narration offers a little more freedom in that the narrator can present information which the main character may never learn. Again, the information should be relevant to the reader's understanding.

Click here to post comments

Join in and submit your own question/topic! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Questions About Novel Writing.

search this site the web
search engine by freefind

Celebrating our 2nd year as one of the...

 Step-by-Step Novel Planning Workbook

NEW! Make Money Writing Nonfiction Articles

"I've read more than fifty books on writing, writing novels, etc., but your website has the most useful and practical guidance. Now that I understand how a novel is structured, I will rewrite mine, confident that it will be a more interesting novel." - Lloyd Edwards

"Thanks to your "Create a Plot Outline in 8 Easy Steps," I was able to take a story that I simply just fooled around with and went willy nilly all over, into a clearly defined, intriguing battle where two characters fight to keep their relationship intact, and try to find a balance in control of themselves and their lives. Thanks to you, I'm not ashamed of the poor organization of my writing." - Nommanic Ragus

"I am so glad I found your site. It has helped me in so many ways, and has given me more confidence about myself and my work. Thank you for making this valuable resource, for me and my fellow writers. Perhaps you'll hear about me someday...I'll owe it to you." - Ruth, Milton, U.S.A.

"I never knew what to do with all the characters in my head, but since discovering Dramatica I am writing again in my spare time. Thank you for making this available. Yes, it is a bit complex, and it does take time, but I love it because it works." - Colin Shoeman

"I came across your website by chance. It is a plethora of knowledge, written in a simplistic way to help aspiring writers. I truly appreciate all of the information you have provided to help me successfully (relative term) write my novel. Thank you very much!" - Leo T. Rollins

"I can honestly say that this is the first website that is really helpful. You manage to answer complex questions in relatively short articles and with really intelligent answers. Thank you for taking the time to write these articles and sharing them so generously." - Chrystelle Nash

"...had no idea that a simple click would give me such a wealth of valuable information. The site not only offered extremely clear and helpful instructions but was a very enjoyable read as well. The education from your wonderful site has made me a better writer and your words have inspired me to get back to work on my novel. I wish to give you a heartfelt thanks for How to Write a Book Now, sir." -- Mike Chiero