I'm writing this YA Fantasy novel and I've already summarized the whole story and ending, but I really want to add more characters to it. I Have two main characters dealing with two main events in the story, and both of the characters have friends/companions. None of them need another friend to join their group, but I want to add an extra character. I want to add one because so far there are only a few characters in my fantasy world (only 6)!

The first main character is a young witch trying to find the hidden Island that the villain has been trapped in for centuries, "to fulfill the prophecy," with help from a young talented wizard like her.

The second main character is also a witch trying to gather the army of the two kingdoms to fight against the third kingdom, accompanied by a poet, a warrior-princess, and her brother.

I can't add more characters to these groups, maybe a side character or an anti-hero will help?

What do you think?

What should I do?

  • 1
    Do you have background characters, or are there literally only six people who are ever mentioned as existing? Commented Dec 15, 2020 at 18:24
  • Not many , maybe three characters only Commented Dec 15, 2020 at 18:27
  • Unless your characters deliberately live in some kind of post-apocalyptic or otherwise empty world, they should probably interact with people on a regular basis. I think six central characters (two main characters and four secondary characters / group members) is plenty, although I also think it's completely up to you how many you have (sorry if that's not helpful!). In conclusion, I don't think you should add characters just because you think there aren't enough. EDIT: oh, what Llewellyn said :P Commented Dec 15, 2020 at 18:36

2 Answers 2


Your main worry appears to be "I don't have enough characters for this huge world".

If these 6 characters are genuinely the only characters in the story, that seems wrong. (Of course, it's entirely possible to tell a compelling story with just 1 or 2 characters, but that doesn't appear to be what you're going for.)

Surely, they're interacting with lots of other people (that army you mentioned, for example). Without knowing more about your story, it's hard to come up with suggestions. For example, if the group spends the main part of the story travelling, they might not interact with others as much as they would if they'd stayed in one place. But even then, they'll interact with inn keepers, people they meet on the road, farmers selling them food, and so on.

Even if these side characters only appear once or twice, and even if they don't actually have any lines of dialogue, they'll still show that your world is populated by other people, and make your world feel more alive.

You can also have absent characters that never appear on page. For example, your main characters could talk or think about their parents, friends, colleagues etc.

Are you worried that you don't have enough protagonists?

  • Omg that's so helpful ! there's some absent characters " their parents , etc " , and there's some side characters too , but I feel like I need an another adult character since all of my protagonists are teenagers - young adults , I want a character that will make a nice comeback at the the " final battle " , a comeback which will leave the readers in shock and excitement ! Commented Dec 15, 2020 at 18:58

You can have all the characters you want, but how they interact and stuff is up to you. If you think you need another character as, IDK, comic relief, then add them, see if you like it, and then change as needed.

But it sounds like all the party slots are full, so there are a few things we can use instead of being a companion.

One option is a local helper, ie Bob works as a farmer and [location near Bob] is attacked. Bob will help the MCs free the town but can't follow them on the rest of their journey. However Bob will be around in [location] for whenever the MCs pass through again.

Another idea is a random traveling salesman(or just something else but salesman makes sense). This character will just wander around your world selling stuff and might meet up with your MCs at random times to sell stuff and maybe help them.

If you want somebody to fill gaps in combat scenes but have your other scenes all full, you can use a summon warrior spell. Then the warrior just pops out of the magical whatever place, beats up whoever, and then disappears again.

If the situation is the opposite, you could just have a head friend like Golem and Precious(LOTR). You can talk to yourself/whoever is in your head and hold entire conversations on your own. Useful for if you get separated and need to talk to someone.

Hope this helps.

  • Omg thank you a lot ! I really liked the idea of a random traveling salesman , this will definitely be in the book ! Commented Dec 15, 2020 at 19:01

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