Lockdown Diary – 2020 – 103 – Musings in the Night

Many words have been written by me and by other writers about the secondary character who gets a foot in the door. At 6am, it’s irritating. Fortunately I wasn’t awake at 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5 am when it would have been particularly irritating.

The first time it happened to me was with Daisy (the hero’s sister in Mariah’s Marriage) and I eventually wrote Daisy’s Dilemma for her. That’s not going to be an option for this character as he’s in a draft serial for a magazine. However, he is going to have to be one of the VP characters and it’s back to the drawing board.

So that was yesterday, folks. A lot of deep work on a synopsis which must today be re-written. I did go out for a walk. The fish van came and we enjoyed baked fish followed by the dessert from Appetite Delivers. (Week 2 on order!) We had a smashing what’s app call with some of the family. I continued watching the Talking Heads series of plays by Alan Bennett. The richness of the characterisation in those is overwhelming – I can only manage one at a time. The performances are sublime.

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Upstaging for Beginners – Secondary Characters’ Round Robin


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.

After the Night Before

New Baby

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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