I’m pleased to welcome the fabulous Kinley Baker to the blog today!
Secondary characters are one of my favorite parts of reading. I am an absolute sucker for secondary love stories. When they’re done well, they really make me enjoy the book on another level.
Vivid sidekicks and best friends can take a story and turn it into a world. They can take friendships and create a community.
As a huge fan of series, I can understand why they find success. When an author successfully creates a group of people we must know about, it’s easy to see why we’re still hanging on at the eighth, ninth, tenth book, and beyond.
I’m a compulsive character creator. My first editors really had to calm me down and make me think which characters are vital to the story and which can be taken out. While some authors can pull off one hundred characters, this isn’t common.
Especially when we’re starting out, I think it’s best to keep it simple. This applies to series, as well. If you intend to make a secondary character a main character in a future book, I think it’s best to keep things low key.
In the first version of my first book, Ruined, I had Reid as a POV character. I showed his perspective in a thread that was quite detailed. During the editing process, I ended up taking his POVs out because they didn’t move the story forward.
I’m so glad we made that decision. Because little did I know that Reid was going to be the hero of the third book. And he has truly evolved and grown since book one. My idea of him has changed (for the better I hope), and it took time throughout the series for him to grow.
Since I took out his POV from the first book, I had more freedom and space to dig deeper for the completion of the trilogy.
Keeping the backstory and secrets of secondary characters off the page helps us to avoid writing ourselves into corners. That’s not to say that we need to always be super vague. It’s just helpful to really understand our characters before we put something down as a rule we can’t change later.
Sometimes there are ways to save things we say about secondary characters in the first book. With skill, authors can transfer something the reader thinks of as fact into another thing entirely. Other times, readers might get lost because a certain character wasn’t who they thought they would be. It’s a delicate balance.
There is also a drawback to vibrant secondary characters. They can take over, and your main characters might lose some of the spotlight. This is bad and not so bad. Everyone will read or connect to a character differently.
A character might just work better for a certain reader, so they will exclaim how much they loved character B, and they will want to read B’s story. This might dim the overall opinion of the first book, but in the long run you’re still okay. You are writing characters other people relate to.
When people tell me they want to read more about a certain character, that it the highest compliment.
For example, in Excuse My Fairy, Jiva is a pretty intense presence for some of the story. But I don’t really tell a lot about her. I know the internal pain she struggles with, but I didn’t spend a lot of time on her because the first book is Dray’s story and I didn’t want to take away from that.
Even now looking at the series arc, I think there needs to be another book before I can get Jiva to where she needs to be for her story. This is all a learning curve and I think we’ll all get better at it as we go on.
Read your favorite series and look for how the authors build up those secondary characters. In a lot of cases you might notice that there isn’t a ton of concrete information given right from the start.
Characters evolve over series, and I think the best books allow that to happen naturally.
When it comes to secondary characters, I would make sure you know who each person is at the core as the author, even if you don’t include all the information in your books.
And sometimes you might not know who your characters is at heart, and I don’t think it’s bad for some characters to transform over the course of the series, even if they do it in the background and the reader hardly notices.
Thank you for allowing me to visit your blog today, Amanda!
Excuse My Fairy
Her magic breaks all the rules. He breaks all of hers.
Draybeth is broken. Her fairy powers don’t work, her magic is completely dysfunctional, and not even her bad attitude and soft heart can win her back into Fairy favor. Exiled from their land, she struggles to make a life for herself in the human world. But when her bar burns to the ground and she meets one of the Impassables–the devastating Lawman Barrett–things become even more of a struggle. An arrest, murder, and abduction challenge everything she’s worked for, and worse, the Impassable Lawman appears to be her destined mate. But darkness stirs deep within Dray’s heart, and she’s not about to drag the gorgeous lawman down with her.
Barrett never expected to find himself mated to a fairy, let alone one with such a wicked temper and a short fuse. Being an Impassable, he should be immune to fairy magic, but Dray’s magic burns through him like lightning, just as everything else about her ignites him, body and soul. The fairy’s power over Impassables threatens everything this new realm was built upon, and as a Lawman, Barrett’s job is to make sure those threats are eliminated. But his feelings for Dray make him question just where his duty lies.