Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Importance of Secondary Characters

Ever spend so much time focusing on your protagonist that you forget to put interesting people around him/her?

I don't know about you, but I think secondary characters can be some of the most important—and interesting—people in a story. Take "Seinfeld," for example. While the show may have been named after Jerry, wasn't it the oh-so-crazy Kramer who stole every seen with his epic entrances and one-liners?

Or if the "Seinfeld" reference feels a little dated to you, think of "The Office." You know, back in the era of Michael Scott when the show was still watchable. Again, Steve Carell's character was clearly the person steering the proverbial ship. But without Dwight and Andy and yes, even heinous Angela having their own dynamic characteristics, the show would've just been about an incompetent boss. In a word: B-O-R-I-N-G!

While a secondary character may seem like nothing more than a best friend for the leading lady or a love interest that's around for a couple of dates, it's important to devote your energy to really making them pop, too. While you don't want to devote thousands and thousands of words to someone who may be essentially making a cameo, you want to make sure he/she isn't just there without a purpose. Make them multi-dimensional, witty, interesting because who knows? They may end up being that character that your readers can't get enough of.

Speaking those illustrious secondary characters, I'm going to be participating in "The Girly Book Blog Hop" next Thursday, September 27th. Not only will I, along with a bunch of fabulous female authors be talking about secondary characters in greater depth, but there are prizes involved, too. So be sure to check out my blog for all the details.

Now it's your turn, how do you come up with your secondary characters? Who are some of your favorites from literature, TV, etc.?


  1. I agree - secondary characters are soooo important! In fact, from a recent survey, I found out that an overwhelming amount of people like the secondary characters in my book just as book as the main one!

    In books, I love the secondary charcter Nehushta from Pearl Maiden. In movies, I really like the boatswain in The Wackiest Ship in the Army. He brings so much humor to the scenes!

  2. Hmmm...looking over this, maybe I should learn how to write? Typos seem to haunt me. :)