Rounding out characters
Question: I keep coming up with things for my main character like what happened to her and what she's going through but I have like 4 or 5 other characters that are very important but haven't really come up with anything for them right now they're just there and if they go through something it's because it has to do with the main character. How do I fix this?
Some writers like to work with a fixed set of questions to ask themselves about each character. These can range from questions about simple external traits, such as "What colour is his eyes?" "What kind of house does he live in?" or "What's his favourite food?"
to deeper internal matters, such as "What was the worst thing that ever happened to him?" "How does he react under pressure?" or "What is his greatest fear or ambition?"
I suggest you start with what you know about each character. Working from these facts, spend some time creating a list of questions that cover all the aspects of the character you don't know. Spend some time on this.
Then, in a separate writing session, brainstorm lists of possible answers for each question. All answers are good, and more is better.
Finally, perhaps in a different session, select which answers you like best and that work well together. Use these as the bases of a character sketch or file.
Feel free to repeat this process more than once with each character.
It may take some time, but it will be time well spent as your characters will get considerably more fleshed out and your story will feel more believable.
It may also help to consider that each character has his own journey through the story. What do they do when the main character is not around? You might sketch out a timeline for each character. This will help you to make their appearances more authentic as well.