The Quirky Ladies is a group of eclectic (and dare I say quirky?) ladies who are passionate about writing romantic fiction. All types of romantic fiction...paranormal, fantasy, historical, erotic and contemporary. Bring it on!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Secondary Characters--They're too damn fun!

The other day Dalton blogged about her stuck hero, his frustrating silence and the breakthrough they achieved together in the chiropractor's office. I commiserated, believe me. My protagonists like to torture me, refusing to develop in the nice character arcs I'd imagined when I faithfully explored and defined their GMC's and envisioned their penultimate evolution following the most terrible of black moments. (Yes, I'm a plotter, though discovering every day I'm less of one than I thought. But that's for another blog.) So it's a true pleasure and often titillatingly fun to slog through the sometime dungeonlike torture of writing these main characters and arrive at the easy flow of secondary characters.

Secondary characters. My fingers fly on the keyboards giving them witty lines, playing with outrageous personalities, alluding to their own weighty baggage that I'm not responsible for resolving in the story. They offer up so many possibilities and I don't have to deliver on them. At least not right away. They're easy. I can have fun with no nagging worry. Or so I believed.

I'm a series writer. I love books featuring the same hero and heroine working their way toward achieving some ultimate goal or resolution. It's the urban fantasy model, or that's how I look at it. That means I've created a whole host of alluring secondary characters that must appear in book after book and whose own GMC's (which I created as spur of the moment delightfully fun exercises) now have to be realized without taking too much time away from my main protagonists' stories. This is in contrast to many other talented authors who write series with great secondary characters, each installment featuring a different set of heroes and heroines from the same world building cohort (think Suzanne Brockmann for instance). The secondary characters in one book all get to have their time on center stage in another. Unfortunately, with my model I have to deliver satisfaction to my readers without allowing these supporting personalities to be featured in their own tales. What was I thinking?

I know what I was thinking--this is fun. In the end it's a challenge I enjoy. Will I keep up the habit? Probably. Will it drive me crazy in new ways aside from the torture from my main characters? Most likely. But I've fallen in love with Tarn and Sebastian, Qest and Christian, Del, Shiv and Morgana. Maybe someday, once I'm published, you'll be lucky enough to fall in love with them too.

In the meantime, here's a toast to secondary characters and the smiles they bring to our faces. Bottoms up!



Dalton Diaz said...

Tell me about it! Seth, of Illegal Moves (sold to EC, but no date yet), kept trying to steal the show. He was so easy to write, and so willing to be written that I had to practically beat him back with a stick!
Maybe there is something to this. I wonder what would happen if we started each book with all secondary characters and waited to see who naturally fell into the lead?
Yep, spoken like a true pantser.

Nina Roth Borromeo said...

My secondary characters also tried to take over my story. Unfortunately, they were a bunch of rowdy, hard-drinking, cussing elves. So, unless there is suddenly a niche for rowdy, lusty, cursing elf stories, I think I need to table that one and start again. Michelle, I happen to think that all of your characters, primary and secondary, are wonderful and look forward to sharing a lot more adventures with them.