Thursday, April 14, 2011

Are Your Secondary Characters Taking The Lead?

As I went through my blog list this morning, I came across a great post, which was a reply to an even greater post, about how the secondary characters in novels and movies are often more interesting than the main characters. A couple of the examples made were that bad-ass Hans Solo is schnazzier than goody-goody Luke Skywalker and the intelligent (and, ehem, sexy) Hermione Granger is more intruiging than scar-head Harry Potter.

This made me start thinking back to other books, like how in Delirium by Lauren Oliver Lena Halloway's dare-devil love interest is more exciting than she is, or how in Drought by Pam Bachorz, the mysterious overseer who begs to take Ruby away from the Congregation is much more interesting than Ruby herself.

Thinking on this made me realize how much I love all of the secondary characters in my own story and what they each bring. (Think of it this way: how many of you were crestfallen when Sirius died? Dobby? Hedwig? Exactly.) Which brings me to my point:

Is it hard for you not to help your secondary characters take the lead? Do you find that when you start adding new characters and falling for their strengths and flaws that you want to insert them more than you should, AND does that take away from the intruige?

I think that part of the beauty of secondary characters is the mystery. You get to know all about the MC, but you can't help but wonder about all the little skeletons in the secondarys' closests.


  1. You've got me thinking about my secondary characters now. There's one I have a real soft spot for who really does get a raw deal. Poor guy! :-)

  2. I really love most of my secondary characters, but I think that I wouldn't like them as much if they were the POV character. Part of the intrigue and attraction of the love interest, say, is the way that the main character feels about him. If the love interest from my WIP, Taylor, was the main character of the story, he wouldn't be half as cool because it's the way Hunter perceives him that makes him so hot/sexy/mysterious.

    But other secondary characters, like my MC's parents, always end up being some of my favourites in the whole story :)

  3. Gina,

    It's Lois Brown. I'm the one reviewing your query. Ok, I'm on vacation in Ca. and I thought I had your query in my email, but apparently the email on my laptop is all messed up and I couldn't even find your email address (thus I'm commenting on your blog.) So, PLEASE know I'm getting back to you on this. I'm so sorry I've taken so long. I get backfrom Ca. on Sun., so on Monday I'll email you. Seriously. :)

  4. I definitely love my secondary characters :) And sometimes it is hard stopping myself from getting into it too much with them. :P

  5. Sometimes I rewrite scenes from my secondary characters points of view. It gives me a fun new perspective.

  6. Hmm, good point. I hope my secondary characters are complimentary (meaning, work well with and highlight my protag and antag) to the story and enhance it rather than steal the show.

    Nice post!

  7. I've had the problem of writing secondary characters that were more interesting that my main ones, LOL!

  8. I think we can be a whole lot freer with our secondary characters so they naturally become more interesting. Great post.