Introducing Your Supporting Cast

This is where I get technical and “plotty”. Introducing the supporting cast can’t be an info dump. Within the first act, though, every major supporting character has to make an appearance or at least be alluded to. It’s a Chekhov’s Gun thing with me. If the main character is going to visit their grandmother in the third act, they should talk to them on the phone in the first act.

Introducing Your Supporting Cast

It shouldn’t be completely on the nose. The first scene doesn’t have to establish that there is a character named Roger, who will appear around the middle of the book. It can be as simple as a throwaway conversation where a main character mentions she likes redheads, and later on she meets a character who is a redhead. Yes, it has to be subtle and not heavy-handed.

I’m not closing off the possibility that characters I haven’t even conceived of will begin to appear as I’m writing. Their foreshadowing or overt insertion into the earlier part of the story will be added in revision. To facilitate this, I’m cheating. I stuck in a party scene where I will add characters , or mention them in conversation, when I revise. Don’t look at me like that. I’m being proactive here.

Progress Report: Day 6

  • Today is day 6 of 90 on my journey to write the first draft of a novel.
  • Yesterday I wrote 679 words, bringing the total to 5,256.
  • That puts me 2,256 words ahead my target goal, based on writing 600 words per day.
  • I’m currently working on the setup scenes of the first act, and closing in on the inciting incident. I think I’ve established the main character and the key points of the setting enough that I can now throw everything into disarray.


  • Today is Finnish Independence Day. It’s almost a combination of American Memorial Day, Veteran’s Day, the Kennedy Center Honors, and the Oscars. A televised military parade, held in a different city each year, happens in the morning. People go to cemeteries to lay flowers on the graves of veterans. Otherwise you stay home, light blue and white candles, and eat Christmas-type foods. In the evening everyone watches Linnan juhlat (the Castle Ball), a red carpet event where the President greets politicians, celebrities, artists, teachers, scientists, and other accomplished Finns.

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