Sunday, November 2, 2014

How Supporting Characters Add Depth to a Story - An Example from Journey of the Hunted

Heroes, heroines, and villains get all the attention in our favorite stories, but they would not be nearly so interesting without a cast of smaller characters to interact with. Supporting characters serve important roles within a story. I use them to add nuance to the reader experience, like fresh herbs sprinkled upon good meat and potatoes.

Scenes with supporting characters provide opportunities to give additional details and new perspectives to the meaning and action of the story. Through another's eyes, the reader can experience how other people see the big characters.

And because I'm currently writing within a historical setting, the small characters help me show historical attitudes and details appropriate to the time. In the Werewolves in the Renaissance series most of the main characters have supernatural powers, so their points of view are of a fantastic nature. With the supporting characters I can inject perspectives that enrich the story with a historically accurate tone.

For example in the following excerpt from Journey of the Hunted, Emil the servant of the sorcerer Sarputeen disputes the opinion of the knight Sir Krengar who insists the sorcerer is a servant of the Devil. 

“Please Sir Krengar, send out your scouts. Our wait is ended. They are coming at last,” Emil said.

Krengar rolled his eyes. “What reason do you have to be so certain?” he asked, annoyed by his own curiosity.

Emil gestured to the raven staring at them with knowing eyes. “That bird is a servant of Sarputeen. He signals to me the arrival of the man I’m supposed to meet,” Emil explained, gambling that it was true.

The bird squawked presumably in agreement. Chilled by the bird’s uncanny attention, Krengar said, “They say your master is a creature of the Devil.”

Emil bristled. He knew what people whispered about his lord, but this was the first time someone had dared to speak it to his face.

“Sarputeen is no devil. My community has prospered since he gained title of the castle. Our gardens are bountiful. Our flocks are troubled be neither wolves nor bandits. He’s never raised a hand to anyone that I know of,” Emil said and realized that he was proud to defend his master.

“My father said it was his magic that broke the Turks when all seemed about to fall,” Krengar said.

“Would that not make him a Saint?” Emil said, proud of his astute comeback.

After another suspicious glance at the raven, Krengar grumbled, “He’s a master of black magic. Admit it.”

“I take that as a good reason not to defy him,” Emil said.

Krengar scowled at such practicality but said, “I’ll give you one more day.”

“Thank you.”

Emil waited the day in camp while three scouts ventured out. He noticed that the raven stayed close and hoped it was a good sign.

Releasing worldwide as an ebook on November 8.

Journey of the Hunted: Werewolves in the Renaissance 2 is already a preorder for $0.99 at:

Kindle US
Kindle UK
Google Play
Nook US

Preorders will become automatically available on November 8, to all who buy them beforehand. 

About the novel:

The folklore beliefs of the 16th century Renaissance come wildly to life in the werewolf hero Thal. Created by the infamous sorcerer Sarputeen, Thal now battles the dark servants of Tekax, wizard to the Turks and nemesis of Sarputeen. While escaping the Holy Roman Empire, Thal discovers more about his werewolf powers as he struggles to reach a refuge shrouded in mystery.  


Paperback coming this month too!

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