Supporting Characters Are Like Blueberries

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Blueberries aren’t a star-of-the-show fruit. I’ve never liked them on their own. In muffins, yes. I love them in muffins, blueberry muffins are amazing. Blueberry pancakes, blueberry waffles, they’re all winners. And you can throw them into cereal, into oatmeal, or, my favorite, into yogurt, and they’re awesome.

But on their own?

Not so much. Raspberries can stand alone. So can blackberries, and strawberries, though I prefer them cut to whole. Don’t ask me why, but I think they taste better when they’ve been cut. I’m sure there’s a scientific explanation, even if that science is psychology.

But I’ve never been one to sit down to a bowl of blueberries. By themselves, I find them, well, bland. They enhance other things, but don’t really do much alone.

They’re kind of a supporting character of fruit. That’s not to say that supporting characters can’t have their own flavor, and that’s not to say that sometimes they don’t outshine your protagonist or your yogurt. But primarily, they aren’t meant to be the only thing in the bowl.

And that’s OK.

The characters surrounding your protagonist should still feel like whole people. There’s a big difference between blueberry powder and blueberries. But sometimes, even whole people, like whole fruits, are better when paired with something else.

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