Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Your Secondary Characters

As writers we tend to put most of our energy into building our protagonist and antagonist, and not our secondary characters. These characters are just as important as your main ones.

In fact there have been people who have read our books and tell us how much they love Jack or Wood. Now that's not saying they don't love Stevie, it's just those two characters are fun ones. They are always picking on each other and Jack is a funny dude!

You can have just as much fun building and creating your secondary characters and sometimes even more freedom with them. They don't have the pressure of being the hero/heroine or the villain. But as you build these characters you do need to have a strong back story for them as well.

You will have certain characters that will only enter for a short scene or two and won't need as much creating, or even describing, but all your characters need to have some kind of importance to be there.

Creating your imaginary world needs to ring true with the reader so you need to make sure you build strong backgrounds and to understand why these characters are important.

For us, we were starting with a teenage main character so she needed to have loyal and trust worthy friends. Those she could rely on. I based her friendships on the ones I had as a teen. Most of my closest relationships were with guy friends, but I always had one close friend that was female. 

Since Stevie wasn't a cheerleader or the most popular girl, I tended to believe she would have a good male friend. When I was in school those types of girls were surrounded by other girls.

When you develop your characters you will go with what you have experienced in life. Sometimes, as my friend Johnny informed me, you might base a character on a specific person you knew. There is nothing wrong with that. 

Just make sure that your character outlines match with back story and the behavior they exhibit in the book. As long as you do that, then as you write you will know what your characters will do in situations, or won't do.

The reader will pick up if you place your character in a situation and they react differently than they should have. It will take them away from your story.

If you have any questions or comments about character development I would love to hear them. Or if you have any information to help us, leave us a comment.

Just a quick note: I will be scaling back on the blog. I am going to one day a week starting next week. I will be posting on Friday's. I would love to continue but I need to put more energy into writing so you enjoy my books and hopefully come visit me on my blog. 

Once we launch our website there will be a blog on that also and I will resume then to the two day week, once on this one and once on the other. I have decided the other blog will be more interactive with the books so I hope you join in when we get it up!

Take care and I hope all of you have a wonderful week.

Thanks for all of your support! Lisa


  1. Hi Lisa. Good read. Glad you're scaling back to once a week. Although I greatly enjoy your posts, I realize that your books are your priorities at this time. You and Toni deserve a respite from your blog. Once a week will do just fine. The best to you. Blessings.

    1. yeah, I want to focus more on an interactive blog with the books and characters. I am hoping it will turn out and will be fun!

  2. Hi Lisa,

    You make some good points in your post. I don't blame you for scaling back. Two posts a week is difficult at times. And I'm trying to do it with two different blogs. I kind of scaled back without making an announcement. I think a post a week is enough. But I think I'm doing the A to Z on one of my blogs so that will take care of that one for April. I'm writing like mad to have everything scheduled ahead. That will make it easier for me to visit a few a day and comment without having to post one myself.

    I really need to get back to my book.


    1. Robin and I are getting together this weekend to work on your first chapter and then we will get it to you the beginning of the week! Then you can be working on the book! ;-)

  3. I love my secondary, or as I call them "supporting" characters as much as my main characters. Through them I'm able to construct subplots that fill out the story. At times, I didn't realize the importance of a character and thus did not really know who he or she was. I've had to dialog with them sometimes and they really come alive after that. I've also realized that sometimes I have "bit" characters who are not going to play much part in the story but they need to be there. By at least picking an age, appearance and coming up with some personal histories, these characters seem to take on greater dimension and keep the story from becoming "cardboard".

    1. Yeah, we need to breathe life in all our characters, even if they only have a short part in the book. It gives a richness to your story!

  4. Yes, once in a while one of my secondary characters tries to bulldoze through a chapter and I have to take her aside and tell her to behave or I will write her out of the book. Sometimes it works and sometimes she goes off on a rampage. Finally she settles down and we are merrily on our way (for a while) You have to watch them though, they are sneaky.

    1. Yes they are, but it sounds like you have them under control. Isn't it fun when your characters talk to you and make demands lol! ;-)