The Squirrel with the Marvellous Tail, or the importance of minor characters.


The Knitted Curiosity Cabinet

tove jansson squirrel

Moominland Midwinter by Tove Jansson

So, you’ve got a strong protagonist or two, a decent antagonist (that Groke, eh? Or maybe the weather itself), some plot and character development (Tooticky: did she support Moomintroll? Or challenge him? Or perhaps a bit of both). The setting is good (plenty of snow, not too many pine needles in the tummy) and the story is rolling along. So why add any more characters?

One reason is to challenge and develop the protagonist. If you think Tooticky was tough on Moomintroll, just wait until Little My comes along. She provides him with a whole new perspective.

Another is to keep our interest. We may feel we’ve heard enough about the protagonist. Give us a lively secondary character and it revitalises our interest in the story. Ski-ing, horn-playing Hemulen anyone? This type of character can draw another dimension out of our protagonist. Who hasn’t had…

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About yvonnemarjot

Yvonne Marjot was born in England, raised in New Zealand, and now lives on a Scottish island. She has been making up stories and poems for as long as she can remember. Her first volume of poetry, The Knitted Curiosity Cabinet, won the Brit Writers Award for poetry in 2012. She has published four novels and a book of short stories.
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