Blog

Feb 14, 2018

How to Create Your Minor Characters


The topic for this week is how to create the minor characters for your series.

Creating Your Minor Characters

In case anyone missed last week’s blog, I’ll repost some generic tips for creating characters here:

-Think of all your characters (main and minor) as pieces of a puzzle, each one has to fit with your other characters, so plan ahead and think about how each character will interact with the others, and what impact that will have on your story.

-Try to keep the number of main characters between 2-6, any more than that and it will be harder for each character to stand out (especially if each one is getting screen time each episode/chapter).

-For naming your characters, I find it’s best to keep the number of letters between 3-7. Also, try to make the names unique, using regular names like “Sam, Dave, Bob” etc. isn’t going to make your characters stand out. If you look at all of the characters in Spirit Warriors, they pretty much all have short names that are unique. Short unique names make it much easier for the viewer to memorize.

-Giving each character their own costume color is another way to make each one stand out, this is especially effective for comic/animated characters.

-One final generic point, when creating all your characters (main and minor), think about your personal strengths as a writer. I knew Spirit Warriors was going to have a lot of comedy, so I had to include as many possible comedic options with the characters. For example, Lock is dim-witted, which gives me the ability to write jokes where he does something stupid. Tino is a nerd, which gives me the ability to write nerd jokes, Headmaster Ozana is fat and senile, which gives me the ability to write both fat jokes and senile jokes. This same principle applies to a story with fight scenes. If all your characters are fighters, think about what kind of fighting styles they can have. Giving each character a different fighting style not only makes them unique, it will give you as the writer more options when you write their fight scenes.

Spirit Warriors Minor Characters:

I’ll go over the three most important minor characters in today’s blog, Headmaster Ozana, Ms. Hancock, and Rondo.

Headmaster Ozana:

Headmaster Ozana’s character design probably went through more revisions than any other character in Spirit Warriors. As I mentioned earlier, I knew if I had an older, senile character, it would give me more options for writing comedic scenes. The original name for his character was “Principle Ozana” since he was supposed to be in charge of the school. However, I changed it because “principle” sounded too academic, while the term “master” is used in martial arts a lot, so calling him “headmaster” was fitting for the school and martial arts theme.

Ozana also started off more as an intelligent character, in the first draft he was more like Yoda, a small but wise and powerful teacher. However, after I had created Musa (who also is a wise and powerful teacher), I realized that one of them needed to change. It was funnier to have the head of the entire school be the senile one, especially since he wasn’t going to be teaching the students personally. It also made him a perfect contrast to Ms. Hancock, who would be his comedic partner in most scenes.

For his costume design, I gave him a long mustache because not only does it look silly, but that kind of facial hair is often seen in martial arts movies, so it was a bit of a nod to martial arts cinematography.

Ms. Hancock:

Remember, the characters in your series are puzzle pieces. Minor characters are great at filling in holes that you have in your cast. I created Ms. Hancock’s character because I knew that having only one attractive girl in the series (Breta) wouldn’t be enough. Ms. Hancock’s character design went through a few versions. First, I designed her with just a regular school teacher outfit, but the more I thought about it, it just felt too bland. One concept of her had very long red hair, with a persona that portrayed “fire and flames”. That didn’t seem quite right either, maybe it could have worked, but I just felt I could do better. Finally I came up with the “if Darth Vader was a supermodel” persona, with cold eyes, jet black hair, and a matching outfit. It fit perfectly, and made her even more of a comedic contrast to Headmaster Ozana. It was really important for her to be the tallest character in the series too. Since the rest of the characters were going to be humorously scared of her, having her literally towering over them in height made the scenes even funnier.

I really only intended to have Ms. Hancock as a minor character, but when the comic went online she became more popular than I ever imagined. Honestly, she’s probably the most popular character in the series, and once I realized how much fans loved her character, I made sure to increase the number of scenes she was in. I think that’s another point worth making, if something in your series plays really well with the fans, keep going with it, even if it wasn’t your original plan. After all, Dragon Ball was originally a comedy, but the author made such amazing fight scenes that fans loved, so the series shifted to action over comedy. All fans of Spirit Warriors, male and female, reacted so well to Ms. Hancock’s character that she could easily jump up into a main character position.

Rondo:

 

In the original draft of Spirit Warriors, Hanzo was going to be the antagonist and Lock’s main rival. However, when I started planning out the episodes and character interactions, it made more sense to save Hanzo for later in the series. Spirit Warriors is about two rival schools facing off in a martial arts tournament, but Hanzo’s character would be at his best if he was a part of Ozana School and interacting with the main characters on a daily basis. That meant I needed a new antagonist for Lock to face off with, so I created Rondo.

I try to give each prominent main and minor character their own distinct color, and by this point I had used up a lot of the main colors. I chose purple for Rondo’s outfit because no one else had it, and it was dark enough that it matched him as a villain. Rondo’s iconic blood-dripping ying-yang symbol was actually created as a counter to Lock’s costume. Lock was initially going to have a regular ying-yang symbol on his back, so I figured giving Rondo a more sinister looking version would be an easy way to distinguish him as the antagonist.

If any readers have questions or want more information about my characters (main or minor) feel free to email me at webmaster@spiritwarriorstv.com

Next week I’ll talk about my experiences growing an online fan base.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

 

Jeff