Minor characters, both nasty and nice, mean a lot to us in our Detective Tom Stone thriller novels. No story is complete unless a minor character with meaning is there to add and shape the story line.
Minor Characters Add Depth
Imagine a movie or novel without any minor characters. Okay, does Castaway with Tom Hanks qualify as an example? There’s always an exception. But in movies or novels, those characters with small parts can loom large in the memory bank.
Who are the minor characters that you remember from books of any genre, movies, television or stage? Mention them in the comments. It’d be fun to see who they are. The very first one who comes to mind for me is one I can only describe from Animal House is “that guy with the thick glasses” in a green shirt.
The scene comes with the fraternity brothers are kicked out of school and two guys are moaning about. One has been beaten up. John Belushi stands up and yells, “Hey, what’s all this lying around shit?”
The guy in green says “What the hell are we supposed to do you moron?“
One line that I remember from a movie I saw 41 years ago. That’s even less than a minor character.
Our Minor Character Ronaldo
We have a “minor character” that we really liked. Ronaldo in Tom Stone: Sweltering Summer Nights and Tom Stone: Day of the Dead.
He was one of the only people that our crook Anthony Angelino could trust. Ronaldo had done some bad things but was wanting to go straight. He lives in El Centro, CA, caring for his mother and running a flooring business.
EXCERPTS FROM TOM STONE: DAY OF THE DEAD
EXCERPT 1 Ronaldo basked in relief after reading Angel’s letter. Every word made it sound like his friend expected to be released from prison soon. The inventory of cocaine would be distributed and they would be rich men. Ronaldo adjusted the oxygen tank for his mother who was rocking slowly on the newly finished wooden floor. “Do you like how it shines, Mama?”
“It’s beautiful.” She stated it more as a fact than emotion.
A weight lifted as he considered what it would be like to never handle a gram of cocaine again in his life. He had made good money but had no inner peace. Knowing who to trust was difficult. The guy handing you a wad of hundred dollar bills could be an undercover narcotics agent ready to slap cuffs on your wrists.
EXCERPT 2 It was a life made for Angel. He thrived on the danger as though the excitement was its own drug. For Ronaldo, it was different. He simply enjoyed caring for his mother and running his flooring business.
A fan and filter in the central air conditioning unit scrubbed the dirt particles and circulated fresh air.
“You hear that?”
“Yes.” A smile creased her lips and for the first time in what seemed like years, Ronaldo saw his mother’s spirit lifted. Hope ran through his body like electricity zipping unnoticed into the controls for the temperature and lighting. While southern California’s Imperial County labored under the early October heat wave reaching triple digits, Ronaldo’s house was temperate and smelled clean. Mama’s steady breathing was proof that the dust swirling around El Centro remained outside.
No one questioned how Ronaldo had bought the new house in addition to fixing up his old one. He fixed the falling plaster and changed out the single pane windows to make it nice enough to rent out. Living in the new home with a shiny red tile roof and automatic sprinklers made Ronaldo feel on top of the world.
Tell us about the minor characters and minor moments you remember.