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Making a splash - Introducing new characters

Emma_Clare at 12:00AM, Sept. 24, 2021

In comics, as in life, characters will come and go in your story. However, how does one go about introducing them in an organic way? Sticking the landing of character introductions can make or break how memorable they are. So here are three things to consider when introducing a new member of the cast.

Figure out what their place is in the story
The best characters have an impact on the story, so keep that in mind before you go ahead and introduce them. Extraneous characters often result in the narrative dragging so avoid having a new character for the sake of keeping the story fresh. If the character has a name, then they need an appropriate place in the story and, if need be, an exit plan.

Minimise how many characters you are introducing at once
If the character you’re introducing is going to be featured as part of the main cast, give them the spotlight for a while. This will help cement the character into the reader's mind and give them a reason to care. When introducing multiple characters, be sure to give them separate times to shine. For example, if one character is more gregarious than the other, rather than have them compete, dedicate the initial introduction to the louder one. Follow this up by the quieter character having an aside with the protagonist. This gives the reader a chance to get to know each character, thus highlighting their personalities in an organic fashion.

Distinguish them from the main character/s by highlighting their differences
What impression does the main protag have of the new character? In what ways do they differ from them? Do their values, looks or manner of speech clash with them or are they charmed by it? By comparing them to the main character, not only are you showing off their traits, you're reinforcing the views and characteristics of the protagonist. Remember, that these initial differences can change in time or prove to be a boon/hindrance, so it is a great time to introduce some subtle foreshadowing.

How did you introduce a new character to your story? Did your readers like/dislike them? Let us know in the comment section below! And join us on Sunday evening for our Quackchat at 5:30PM(EST)!

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