StatCounter

Friday, March 18, 2016

Sneaky Secondary Characters


Secondary characters have many functions in stories. Have you ever had a secondary character surprise you in some way? How? How about in other author's books that you've read? Do you have a favorite secondary character in either your own work or in books you have read?

Robin did it again. I love this topic. I think because they are secondary characters as a writer you put less emphasis on them. You concentrate on the h/h, so the secondary characters have the freedom to go where they want, do what they want and develop their own style. They’re not as restricted.

My favorite secondary character and one that surprised me is Lillian Abernathy in A Cruise to Remember. She’s in her sixties and meets the heroine in the hospital emergency. She’s a wealthy widow diagnosed with early Alzheimer’s. I had her helping the heroine in the emergency because of her amnesia and no money. She paid the bills and took her home. But then she asked her to be a companion on a cruise she wanted to take. Suddenly Lillian becomes a major part of the story. And I’ve fallen in love with her and she’s back in the second book in the series, A Murder to Forget.
Please check what the other authors have to say about this topic.

http://www.wildchildpublishing.com/

12 comments:

  1. I liked you analysis of secondary characters and why they act as they do and get away with it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Rhobin. They're always interesting, in anyone's story.

      Delete
  2. My secondary characters are always my favorites because they are so funny and quirky. Sometimes they are so great that they become primary characters in future stories.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love that, Melissa. And it sometimes works that way for me, too

      Delete
  3. Beverley, I wonder why our main characters have to be so rigid while the secondary characters are free to be themselves? I have a character who wasn't even supposed to have a voice, who was just serving a plot point, and they ended up becoming one of the most beloved characters. Nice post. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Rachael, I think it's because there are so many rules about h/h. What's their goal, how does it change,show don't tell, conflict (inner and outer), etc. Whereas the secondary character is expected to help show off the h/h but other than that they an quirky, fun, a little evil - whatever they want to be.

      Delete
  4. Rachael, interesting point. Probably because some plot extensive backgrounds for their main characters. That doesn't allow for surprises. But the secondary, or bit players, are allowed to just serve a purpose in the story. That frees them to demand that you give them more attention.

    I agree that Rhobin picked a great topic!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good point, Fiona. I think we're on the same page there.

      Delete
  5. I like that your character Lilian is in her sixties. Just because characters are older doesn't mean they are less interesting. Sometimes they are more so because they have so much life experience. Think the Dowager Lady Grantham!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hi Beverley, Isn't it so odd the way our minds work? Glad you found your really interesting secondary character, Anne Stenhouse

    ReplyDelete
  7. I loved your story which had lots of humanity in it--one of the things that makes writing rewarding.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I liked your thoughts on why our secondary characters can sometimes steal the show.
    In the series I am currently writing, my main character is the one who is crazy, eccentric and breaks all the heroine rules. A couple of the secondary characters act very well as foils for her outlandishness, but they, in themselves are becoming popular with my readers too and these characters are now demanding their own novels.

    ReplyDelete