Home › Forums › Writer’s Digest Forum › Writers’ Block Party › Difference Between Needless Characters & Parallel Storyline › Re: RE: Difference Between Needless Characters & Parallel Storyline
If through her parallel story she tells the reader more about the main characters (information they need, of course), then sure. I think the danger is having a character merely as that kind of prop who you dedicate a lot of time to (and the reader’s attention), then they just fade away.
I’ve always thought there was kind of an economics to stories. It’s tough to assign numbers like you would for a regular business, but there’s a supply and demand at work on many levels: Your reader demands certain information about characters, setting, motivations, etc. You, the writer, supply this information. Part of figuring it all out is how much demand there’s going to be for information about Character X. If you supply too much information, you start to lose your reader’s attention. (Attention, or interest, the currency of story-economics).
So the question is, will you reader want to know more about a minor character (I’m assuming) other than what that character can tell the reader about the main characters (or furthering the story). All you can do is write it, evaluate it for yourself and go from there.