Original Fic Tip: Tagging Can Make A Secondary Character Stand Out
Today's fic tip comes from this article over on Writers Helping Writers.
Maybe you have had some of the experiences I’ve had when writing a manuscript, one of which is finding yourself with a character–could be a side character, a secondary character, or even a viewpoint character–who seems to be sort of stuck in the background of the story when he’s not really supposed to be. In your head, he’s a great character, and maybe you even want to showcase him, but for some reason, on the page, he just doesn’t shine. Sometimes this sort of thing even happens with the protagonist. Here are four tips to help make characters stuck in the background pop out.
Give Your Character Defined Attributes
You may be familiar with the idea of “tagging” your character–giving your character attributes or key words that are regularly referenced. For example, Umbridge in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is regularly described with the color pink, wearing a bow, “like a toad,” and very short and stumpy. The Minister of Magic, Cornelius Fudge, always has a bowler hat, and he usually takes it off and runs the brim of it through his hands.
If your character is stuck in the background, she may need some tags to help her pop out. Make sure you don’t pick tags or details that are so generic, they are forgettable. Instead, be specific and telling.
Now go forth and write!