In the previous step you added to your cast list some characters who would not raise an eyebrow if they showed up in your story’s world.
Now, let yourself go a bit (but just a bit) and list a number of characters that might seem somewhat out of place but would still be fairly easily explainable in such a story as yours.
In our example story of a small town in the old west, these “unusual characters” might include:
A troupe of traveling acrobats
Ulysses S. Grant
A Prussian Duke
A bird watcher
You may be wondering why you’d want to have such odd characters in an otherwise normal story. The reason is to prevent your story from being too normal.
Neither reader nor publisher will want to waste time or money on a book that is just a rehash of the same tired material they’ve read over and over again.
What they are looking for is something with a unique personality – something that sets itself apart from the usual run of the mill.
Adding one or two somewhat unexpected characters to a story can liven up the cast and make it seem original, rather than derivative.
Once again, you won’t be married to all these characters. They are just a gene pool from which to select your actual cast in a later step.
So, add to your list some slightly odd, offbeat, unexpected or quirky characters – no one too unusual, mind you – just folks who would not immediately come to mind in a story such as yours but could be explained with a little effort – folks to add a little color and interest to your story.