Memorable secondary characters for your new-adult novel

As an author, it’s just as important to develop compelling secondary characters as your main character. Your secondary characters can help add depth, tension and conflict to your story, bringing it to life. In this article, we’ll look at the most important secondary characters to include in a new adult novel and the important roles they play.

Friends and work colleagues

These characters are important for giving your protagonist a social network and anchoring them in a community. They can also serve as a sounding board by providing advice and feedback on important decisions. In a New Adult novel, your protagonist’s friends and colleagues can also serve as a source of tension and conflict. For example, if a friend disapproves of the protagonist’s love interest or career choice, this can create tension and drive the plot forward.


It doesn’t matter whether your protagonist in a New Adult novel only has a part-time job to make ends meet or is already fully established in professional life. Superiors are the people your protagonist works off and who draw attention to his shortcomings. Sometimes, however, they also take on the role of older mentors, talking about their lives and how they overcame certain difficulties. During their studies, a professor can also take on this role. They don’t play a central role, but they help to paint a well-rounded picture of your protagonist.


Parents can also play an important role in the life of your protagonist in a new adult novel. They can be a voice of reason and provide guidance in difficult times. They can also embody societal expectations that your protagonist must either follow or rebel against. However, it’s important that you don’t fall into the trap of creating clichéd or overbearing parental figures. Instead, strive to make them complex and nuanced, like parents in real life. Like superiors, they no longer play a central role in new-adult novels, as the protagonists are usually just breaking away from the parental home and taking their first steps into independent life during this period of their lives.

Lovers (or potential love objects)

Romance is often a central theme in New Adult novels, and love interests are important to moving the plot forward. Your protagonist’s love interest can cause tension and conflict if they have different goals or personalities. Also, writing romantic scenes and interactions can be a chance to show your voice and style as a writer.


No story is complete without an antagonist – a character who stands in direct opposition to your protagonist. Antagonists can take many forms, such as rivals, bullies or even the protagonist’s inner demons. Their job is to create conflict, tension and obstacles for your protagonist to overcome. When developing an antagonist, it is important that they are a fully-fledged character with their own motivations and backstory, rather than a one-dimensional caricature.

Well-developed secondary characters are an important aspect of writing a compelling new adult novel. Whether they are friends, colleagues, superiors, parents, romantic partners or antagonists, these characters serve as a backdrop against which your protagonist can grow and develop. If you take the time to develop each character’s backstory, motivations and relationships, you can create a rich and compelling world that readers will return to again and again. So explore the characters’ possibilities and bring them to life with your own voice.

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