I'm struggling to find the voice of a minor character so I decided to work on his backstory some more in the hope that it will emerge through discovery. Where did he grow up? Who are his parents? Who were his childhood friends? Who is his favorite athlete, favorite actor?
The vast majority of this information will never appear in the actual story, but these answers should inform the decisions he makes, the way he speaks, etc. And I might end up with new characters that can be used elsewhere if needed. For example, his mother intrigues me. She may or may not even get a passing mention here, but I wouldn't mind exploring her in a different context. I already have an idea to put her together with a character from another failed novel and see what they do together.
When I say “I have an idea” that's probably overstating matters. It's more like, hey wouldn't it be cool if they met? I have no clue what the context might be or what might come from it, but they both seem like interesting characters that could mesh.
Will I ever write something involving those two characters? I can't think that far ahead, I've got plenty on my proverbial plate as is. But it might be fun, so you know, I'll keep it stashed in the back of my mind somewhere and see what happens.
One thing I'm finding about novel writing is that there's always room to do more digging. That's true of other types of writing, but another minor character wasn't popping, so I asked more questions about her and came up with someone more well rounded and memorable. So many parts of that first draft can be launch points for deeper dives. Choosing which points is the challenge.