Divas Recommend: “3 Ways to Write Stupendous Supporting Characters

 by K.M. Weiland


This past February my son participated in the musical production of Guys and Dolls at his junior high. (He was the best hot dog vendor I’d ever seen, in case you were wondering.) It was a wonderful play and at times, hard to believe that the actors were twelve to fifteen years old. After the play my daughter and I got into a discussion about what we liked about the story. My favorite characters weren’t the leads, Sky Masterson and Sarah Brown, even though their performances were wonderful. I loved two of the supporting characters, Nicely-Nicely Johnson and Miss Adelaide. Why? Because these supporting characters were well-developed. Was their story any less important than that of the main characters’? No, but their purpose was to provide support to the leads and the main plot. They added a richness and, at times, comic relief when the story threatened to get too serious.

So why am I waxing poetic about Guys and Dolls? When I ran across K.M. Weiland’s article “3 Ways to Write Stupendous Supporting Characters” a few weeks ago, it reminded me of how well Nicely-Nicely Johnson and Miss Adelaide performed in their supporting roles. Weiland gives authors some guidance on developing better supporting characters. A book with a well-developed cast of characters is a much better read than one that just sticks to the main characters and only uses the supporting characters as window dressing.

I hope you enjoy this week’s Divas Recommend. Please share your thoughts about supporting characters, your impressions of Weiland’s article, and even Guys and Dolls, if you feel so inspired. 🙂

Now… go write something!



  1. K.M. Weiland Says: May 8, 2014 at 11:04 am

    Great blog! Thanks so much for linking to my post. I’m glad you enjoyed it.

  2. I so agree with this. One of my pet peeves is when the supporting characters seem to exist only to move the story of the MCs. I am thrilled when someone leaves a review saying one of my supporting characters is their favorite.

    p.s. Adelaide is my fav in Guys and Dolls.

    • I love well-developed supporting characters. The trick is to keep them from eclipsing the main characters. Haha! I’ve walked away from books wishing the story had been about the supporting characters because it was the more engaging one. Thanks for reading our blog and commenting!

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