The Crime Writers' Association


Minor Characters by J G Harlond

Most characters in a crime novels are potential suspects, so even if they are minor or secondary characters, make their presence and dialogue meaningful.

In historical crime fiction these people should of course also reflect or exemplify the lifestyle and moral codes of the epoch.

Create a backstory for each, but use details sparingly. Let your characters’ dialogue, quirky traits and actions convey who they are, and let that suggest what they might be hiding, and why.

Remember, each person in your story should either further the plot or help demonstrate an aspect of the main characters’ situation. Cut or avoid ‘walk-on’ characters.


Find out more about J G Harlond here.

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