As I was plotting out Rise of the Dragon, I obviously wanted a faithful protagonist. Who doesn’t? But even when the novel was still in its infant stages, I already wanted a supporting character. I thought the story with Jacob by himself would be somewhat interesting, though I didn’t think it was enough. A supporting character who was Jacob’s best friend and fellow dragon was something I thought would help the story a lot. I didn’t want Jacob to be all alone. This is where Clipper’s role comes from. Another thing that I wanted Clipper to do is to be more than just a side character. I wanted him to have a major roll (just not as big as Jacob’s).
Creating supporting characters can be a little tricky. You don’t want them to be there just for support. All you will have is a supporting element, not a supporting character. At the same time, you want the story to follow your main character. Creating Clipper was slightly difficult for me because of the story’s structure. I wanted one main character, who was Jacob. What I tried to focus on was Clipper’s self-awareness and his personality that is similar but not identical to Jacob. That way Jacob could be more independent as the protagonist. This is why Clipper treats his temper differently from how Jacob does, for example.
After I developed Clipper’s character, I had a lot of fun with him. His dark-red scales and sabered teeth show that he is different from Jacob, but he shares enough traits. Having Clipper as a supporting character who is friends with Jacob felt so much better than having Jacob go about his adventures alone. And it doesn’t end with Clipper. Characters like Chang, Sally, and even Reno also had to be distinct and I had fun with them too.
Creating a character’s personality was very fun for me. I enjoyed creating Clipper’s role as well as Jacob’s and other characters.