1. Yeah, people shouldn’t act like they need to choose between plot and characters. Like, maybe one takes more precedent than the other at times, but that’s more on a per author or per story basis. It’s usually best to play the plot and character off of each other during development, since that can make it easier to get out of creative ruts and whatnot.

    Another aspect is not to leave side chars in the dust when it comes to development(at least whenever possible). Every person has their own desires, agendas, etc, and whether or not the chars are good people, their agendas will often clash and drive the plot. So if something in the story stagnates or feels shallow, it may be that the side chars and their interactions with others are underdeveloped.

    • Underdeveloped is a good way to say it, Autumn. I’ve used the term cardboard characters or placeholders. They don’t seem like real people but like cardboard dolls that the author needs to do something so the protag can accomplish or fail or whatever the author wants to happen. The best stories make the characters feel like real people.


      • Yeah, especially when the underdeveloped side chars are pretty much just designed to prop up the main char. (Often by praising/befriending the main char to make them look good, or by being a straw man that bullies the main char just to make the main char look sympathetic). That tends to lead into Mary Sue territory, and most people don’t want their main chars to be Mary Sues.

What do you think?