I'm on a bit of a writing hiatus after entering so many contests. But now that I've had a little break while waiting to hear back on some requests, my brain cog-works are finally functioning again. And I can't stop thinking about those awesome side characters! Most specifically, how they can make or break your story.
Think of them as building blocks to lift your character up. Whether they are good building blocks or bad ones that might corrupt the stack later, if they're not written well, they can make the whole plot stumble.
Not all of them need a back story but they do need to be consistent...and that usually comes by at least knowing their back story even if the reader doesn't. Some of my favorite side characters are either funny or quirky in some way. If you want some great characters to check out, look no further. These are some of my favorites!!!
Luna Lovegood from Harry Potter series.
Mr. Collins from Pride and Prejudice.
Ari and Janco from Poison Study series.
The satyrs (can't think of their names right now) from the Fablehaven series.
And last, but certainly not least, is Wit from The Way of Kings...who might actually be a main character and we just don't know it yet. He is probably one of my favorite.
There you go. Study them, learn from them, and then write them :)
Keep it up and keep it real.