A Star Cast – 5 Tips To Creating A Star Cast In Your Novel

Last night hubby and I turned on a movie. In the first twenty minutes of the show about ten star actors and actresses made an entrance on the scene. My jaw dropped.

WOW! With that many stars in one show, the movie was going to be great. I wasn’t disappointed.

How about your novel?

Have you created a star cast for your reader to be astounded by?

In the first few chapters you want to wow your readers with a star cast that tells them this story is going to be great. It’s not easy, but you can do it if you are purposeful about your character placement on the page. Ten new characters in the first few chapters will overwhelm your reader, so you want to start a bit smaller and introduce them a little at a time.

5 Tips To Creating A Star Cast In Your Novel:

*Analyze Genre Greats. Pick at least five best-selling books in your genre and list their POV Characters with a brief description of their physical and personality traits.

*Compare The Cast of Characters. Look for commonalities in the hero, heroine, villain, or secondary POV characters individually. Then look at the whole cast and compare against another whole cast and notice how they are balanced.

*Compare Your Point of View Characters To The Greats. Your characters should be unique, but they should have a balance that meets the needs of the reader to enjoy a story. Different types of characters appeal to different readers, so try to mix it up a bit. At least two of your cast of characters should be opposite in some way. We don’t want to spend time in the head of four character POVs that all think and act alike.


These first three tips will help you identify what makes a star cast in your genre. There are also some hard and fast character rules like building empathy, making them heroic or as James Scott Bell says, “Pet the cat,” etc. But these next two tips are designed to build off of tips one through three.

*Build In The Quirky. Great casts tend to have a quirky character of some sort. This character doesn’t have to be a POV character in a book to fill out the star cast, but it needs to be there.  A quirky character can be a child, a sidekick with a sense of humor, a character with oddities that make them stand out, a pet, etc.

*Create Memorable Names. All of your POV characters’ names should start with a different letter, to avoid reader confusion. Then have a few unique names, no I don’t necessarily mean odd, just unique. Names that you might see in life, but only a few times. You can even give a character a name that they hate, so they go by a nickname. For example, Francis Darren Romen might really hate his name. He would find a nickname fast.

What TV show has your favorite cast of characters?


About Michelle Lim

Author Michelle Lim is the Brainstorming/Huddle Coach with My Book Therapy Press and the Midwest Zone Director for American Christian Fiction Writers. Michelle’s romantic suspense is represented by Karen Solem of Spencillhill Associates and has gained contest recognition in the Frasier, the Genesis, and the Phoenix Rattler, winning the Genesis in 2015 for her genre. Michelle writes devotionals for The Christian Pulse Online Magazine and Putting On The New. Since her nonfiction book release, Idea Sparking: How To Brainstorm Conflict In Your Novel, through public speaking and online chats Michelle helps writers discover the revolutionary power of brainstorming to bring new life to their stories.

2 thoughts on “A Star Cast – 5 Tips To Creating A Star Cast In Your Novel

  1. NCIS…Oh,oh, no, Castle…oh, no, Blue Bloods…I think I’ll stop on that. As always, great information!

  2. Michelle Lim says:

    NCIS is classic isn’t it? What I find interesting is that most suspense series have an information character that is quirky: Bones has Vincent, Crossing Jordan has Bug and Nigel, Criminal Minds has Reed, NCIS has Abby…. Just a note to you suspense writer’s out there.

    You watch great TV, Pat!

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