So your protagonist’s goal sets the plot in motion, the antagonist’s efforts cause conflict – what is the role of the other characters that live in this world you’re developing? Are they even necessary?
The short answer is – No. They’re not.
However, unless your protagonist is living in a vacuum, there should be other characters around. But what do they do?
The most minor of minor characters act as placeholders and scenery. They are just part of the invisible masses, populating your story, and if they have a line, its function is usually just to move the plot from point A to point B – these are the bus drivers and bosses in a plot.
Occasionally, a minor character will distinguish themselves and begin supporting the protagonist or the antagonist in their role. These characters also help move the plot along, but in a different way – through direct influence on the main characters’ behaviours. Perhaps they possess skills your protagonist does not and therefore is able to help her get over obstacles that stand in her way (the Hunger Games is full of minor characters of this type). Maybe they act as advisors – like the Emperor to Darth Vader.
Their individuality is necessary to the story, and so they need some time in development.
Every October, hundreds of bloggers gather at The Nesting Place to write for 31 days straight on a variety of different topics, teaching and encouraging and offering tips and tricks to make life easier.