One of the balancing acts that authors have to pull off is populating their world with both main and background characters. A main character, hero or villain, needs to be fleshed out in four dimensions. Background characters however are a bit more flexible. They can be as little as a twisted smile across a crowded Inn or a detailed chapter. For the most part they serve one of two functions. They are either a part of the background, a bit of the landscape to set the scene, or they are something for the main character to react to. How much detail is used depends entirely on the situation. An old man whose behavior defines whether the town the hero enters is suspicious or welcoming of strangers might need only a few words, while a bar-maid with no dialogue whose apparel defines the average wealth of the town might need several paragraphs. The author must balance how much information the character can provided without becoming a distraction, with how much information is already provided by other aspects of the scene.
Betty Adams is an up and coming author with a bent for science and Sci-fi.