...I did two things: I introduced a lot of original NPCs and I skipped dinner.
NPCs (non player characters) are an issue for me thanks to a GM I used to game with. He ran a lot of them, plus a few GM PCs (Game Master player characters and let us never speak of that again), and seemed more involved with their stories than the one he was supposed to be telling with the actual PCs. We'd sit there for twenty minutes at a time, munching snacks, stacking dice, or drawing on our characters sheets, waiting for a chance for us to join the action. Meanwhile, the GM carried on involved conversations with himself between two or more of his NPCs and/or GM PCs. After a while, it was sort of comical.
Not my style. ;)
I think the story belongs to the players, too--they are the ones moving it. They decide what to do. It isn't fair to have a gang of powerful NPCs around making all of the choices. When I introduce one in a role greater than that of the local innkeeper, I'm reminded of that GM.
Because of him, I tend to "under-role-play." (Is that a thing?) I don't want to develop my NPCs so much that I lose sight of what is really important.
I have three NPCs in the game at the moment. It was kind of a necessity since the group decided to join a caravan for the trip to Cosolen. I wanted to play out the trip, so I had to create a caravan. This is the perfect opportunity to run through one or more of the scenarios I came up with in my NaNoWriMo novel. At the same time I'm stoked to have my original characters running around, I'm mindful of the dangers. I'm not going to be that guy, standing at the head of the table talking to myself for twenty minutes while my players eat chips... ^^
They can't eat chips anyway because we banned food...leading to the skipped dinner. Going to bed with a growling stomach is a pretty good indication something went wrong. I skipped dinner because I did not want to deal with something that needs to be addressed.
I don't game with that GM anymore because I did not address my problems in his campaign--including the thespian NPCs--the way I should have. I avoided it, talked around it, and let it blow up into a thing. (That was a thing, trust me.) Talking things out is usually best...just not among NPCs alone...for twenty minutes...while the players struggle to stay awake. ;)