Let’s hear it for minor characters!

Probably every reader has favourite characters from favourite stories. Most often they’ll be the main ones, like Pippi Longstocking or Pooh Bear, Willie Wonka or Charlie himself  from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

But I had a great letter from a reader a couple of weeks back. It’s always special to hear from children who’ve enjoyed one or more of the Tales of Fontania and Zac from Nelson said something really pleasing. Among other things he liked a minor character in The Travelling Restaurant, Crispin Kent. He’s a journalist who also appears in The Volume of Possible Endings. Journalists are meant just to report the news, not take sides.

But Mr Kent seems dodgy at first. Is he a spy? Is he an enemy? He’s one of my favourite minor characters too, because he does seem so slippery and I’ve known several slightly wicked but very funny people a bit like him.

Have a think about the last book you read. Did any of the minor characters stand out? Can you work out why? How about writing a story of your own, with that character as the main one?