Week Three: 10.20.13
In addition to my After The First Draft class, I also taught this workshop at the Emerald City Writer’s Conference this week. To go off topic for a minute — WOW! Loved the conference. Everything about it rocks! Workshops! Authors! Attendees! Presenters! The amazing volunteers! The conference committee! OMIGOSH. My only regret is that it only comes once a year. Sigh.
Okay, now for a snapshot of my workshop on Secondary Characters.
In order to think about your secondary characters, you must first examine your main character’s flaws. Yes, I said it. Your main character is flawed. I know you love him/her, but if your character is to change, they must first have a flaw. Did I suggest only one? Change that to flaws. Write down at least three.
Now it is time to develop your secondary characters. For example: if one of your main character’s flaws is that they are closed off, and afraid to commit, create a best friend who is part of a wonderfully big and loving family, or someone who is in a happy relationship.
Each one of your secondary characters helps the main character in some way, not just in disarming the bomb, but emotionally as well. But you ask what about a restaurant waiter, or the ticket taker at an amusement park. Why do I have to bother developing a character if he or she doesn’t say much? Do you remember the elevator operator in Pretty Woman? He had a small, but important role to play. A simple rule – if a character speaks, his dialogue MUST advance the plot. Otherwise, you leave your reader wondering why the character spoke at all. Remember, your readers are very smart. After all, they bought your books.
Writing Exercise: Write a scene where a secondary character helps your main character view life in a different way. Say for example your main character has trouble connecting are being around people. Have a secondary character invite him to Thanksgiving.
Have fun creating your secondary characters. Make them quirky, and interesting.Have great day writing, Pam #pnwa