When John Met Paul

On July 6, 1957 John Lennon and Paul McCartney met for the first time at an outdoor fair where John was performing.

And the rest, as they say, is history.

There’s actually an entire book written around this meeting–The Day John Met Paul by Jim O’Donnell–if you’d like to learn more.

 Characters Count–What about the characters in the stories you write?  Are they just meeting random people randomly?  Are you filling up the pages with all sorts of cardboard characters just to take up space? 

Oftentimes, as writers, we focus all our attention on creating a dynamic protagonist and maybe even spend lots of extra time on an antagonist.  After that, we begin sort of cutting and pasting in these other characters until they are just, well, there

As writers, we need these other characters to push the story forward, so we sprinkle them in as needed.  Oftentimes, though, these sidekicks become stereotypical and just blah.

Today, examine your supporting cast with some of these thoughts/questions:

  • First, does the character seem to disappear?  Go through the manuscript and highlight every time she actively participates in a scene.  If you notice by the end she’s M.I.A then evaluate her purpose.  You may need to combine this character with another more developed one or throw her from the train entirely.
  • How does this character impact the protagonist?  Find ways to detail this impact throughout the story.  That’s why this sidekick’s included in the first place.
  • How will this character be remembered?  Find ways to detail what makes her unique.

So today, if your protagonist meets a cop, don’t have him sitting in his patrol car eating doughnuts all day.  

Make sure your supporting cast is breathing, with their own set of believable quirks and conflicts.  That way, when the protagonist/antagonist does meet her, the meeting matters.  Who knows?  The meeting could be as monumental as the day John met Paul.

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