Upstaging for Beginners is something all eldest children know about. I’m an eldest child – what do you mean, you knew that? There you are in a neat little bubble of loving relatives, doting friends and neighbours and admiring strangers when it BURSTS.
A sibling has arrived. They don’t have to do anything to attract all that wonderful attention that was hitherto yours and yours alone. They just are Secondary Characters and they’re upstaging you.
Secondary Characters should support the heroine or point up by their failings and villainy how sparkling, intelligent, beautiful… Okay, I think we all know what we want the secondary characters to do. Unfortunately, as in The De’il has all the best tunes, the villain often has more of the colour and a writer needs to take enormous care to avoid making the good pale and uninteresting by comparison.
My favourite Secondary Character from my own writing is Reuben Longreach in
Reuben arrived on the first page of the new story fully formed and snapping at the heels of the man I had thought was going to be the male interest. He was certainly a surprise and I loved him from the first words I ‘heard’ him say.
DAISY herself was a secondary character in MARIAH’S MARRIAGE I did have to tone her down in one scene to allow Mariah to flourish.
There are many classic secondary characters such as Dr Watson & Captain Hastings. The reader comes to love their contributions. Clever readers might even solve detective mysteries through their pointed mistakes (I can’t ). And there are many small, almost cameo, characters who live on in the memory. A recent, and in my view brilliant one, was Lowrie the taxidermist and artist in the television serial Shetland, BBC 1
So, in conclusion, I love secondary characters. Visit some of my blogging friends to find out what they think by clicking on any link below from Saturday 19th. My post is up early as I’m off to the Scottish Association of Writers’ Conference – more of that later.
I’d love to know, dearest reader, who your favourite secondary character is from my three published novels, Mariah’s Marriage, BELLA’S BETROTHAL and Daisy’s Dilemma. Leave a comment, please.
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