We've taken a look deep inside Drago and Johnny, our primary characters, and have constructed some complex characters with a lot going on inside and outside. We've constructed backstories, analyzed emotional needs, examined needs in conflict, and predicted behavior based on all these factors.
Do you want to do this for every single character in your story?
You can if you want to, and it might (might!) make your story richer. It sure would be a lot of fun, too, because let's face it, this stuff is fun.
But it would be awfully time-consuming to have to build every character in this complex and nuanced manner. For characters that play minor roles, that appear only in one or two scenes, there are other ways to make them vivid without writing dozens of pages of backstory and filling in detailed charts and questionnaires.
Think about this. You're attending a business function with a friend, say an awards dinner. The friend knows everyone, but you don't know anyone but your friend. You walk in, and your friend introduces you to someone right away, before you've even taken the lay of the land.
Immediately, you will begin to take in information about this new person to help you understand what kind of person he or she is. Clothing, hairstyle, smile, mannerisms, how loudly or softly they speak, even word choices -- thousands of cues that all mount up to create an impression of character. Some of these cues are large and some are small, but each plays a role in helpin gyo to understand what kind of person you've just met.
Here's what you don't get with your new acquaintance: details of their childhood, parents, siblings, education, and all the other backstory; goals, dreams, plans and other details related to external motivation; emotional weaknesses, core needs, emotional strengths, secrets, obsessions, and other things related to the deeper psyche; and, indeed, anything not appropriate for chat at a business cocktail party or dinner.
Yet you can still draw some conclusions about this character, can't you? He's bossy. She's needy. He's a really warm-hearted guy. She's the class clown. His conversation is limited. And you can use those conclusions to begin to predict character behavior. You begin to understand how that particular character would behave in a different setting even though you might not know every detail of their childhoods.
You do it all by staying in the present and analyzing only the information available at this moment and in these circumstances.
And now you're going to do it for Dr. Cannon. She's our pal, the interviewer surgeon on staff at a prestigious city hospital and involved in MSF. That's all we know about her so far.
Now, keeping in mind that every detail you choose must be evocative of a consistent character type, I want you to:
-- Pick out Dr. Cannon's clothing.
-- Give her a physical description.
-- Describe the meal she orders and how she orders it.
-- Describe her manner of interacting with Johnny and Drago.
That's it. In essence, you will build a character by analyzing her appearance and behavior in a given setting. Go!