Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Beloved Secondary Characters

My main writing time each day is 9am to noon, though I often write longer, or come back for another session after lunch and a bit of exercise. I just finished up for today, and am planning to edit through what I wrote this morning after the aforementioned repast, but wanted to make note of a particularly satisfying chunk of writing.

When I was working on KINDRED I had a very full cast, so many secondary characters to like, love, hate. My favorite out of that large group was the Camerons' neighbor, John Reynold, one of the most gracious and well-adjusted characters in the story. A man I would want my husband to be friends with, because he's good in a crisis, knows how to encourage in the Lord, gives wise counsel, and hosts a great corn husking. 

Today I introduced his counterpart in WILLA, a secondary character I've been eager to let loose on the page. And boy, she didn't disappoint me. Annaliese (Anni) Waring Keppler had me laughing and crying in the space of 500 words. I love her already. What a breath of fresh air. Not that Willa and Neil were stale, by any means. But Willa... she's been a bit dodgy up until now, and Neil hasn't been feeling his best, and so hasn't pressed her. But Anni is a force of nature, and there's no keeping secrets from her. At least not for long.

Next up: introducing Richard, my antagonist. He's also Anni's brother. This will get awkward, even dismaying, but very interesting....


  1. Oooh...secondary characters! A good secondary character can add so much!

    for the line I'm targeting with Mills & Boon we don't get to play with secondary characters much as these are short 'tightly focused' romances.

    Though I've run into an interesting thing with my WIP werein I have a very importan character who is the center of the conflict for the hero and heroine, yet is only in one scene as she dies before much of the book takes place.

    Anyway, glad you've got some good seasoning for your book. That's what good secondary characters are!!

  2. They do add such wonderful texture, don't they? And I like how each one brings out different sides of my protagonists.

    Hope you managed to get in some writing time today. I'm flat out drained and ready to do something creative in the kitchen. Low level creative. BLTs maybe.... YAWN.

  3. Sounds like the writing is going wonderfully well:) I especially like when new folks crop up in our novel that delight us with their newness yet feel like old friends. I have a character named Bella in The Locket (a free black woman), who just makes me laugh with her outspokenness and humor. I love every scene she's in:) Looking forward to hearing more about your seconds, so to speak!

  4. Laura,

    And I also can't wait to read Courting Morrow Little. It sounds so intriguing!

    I just had my antagonist name a character I never expected, and all I know yet is her name, and a shadowy image of her. I'm not sure if she will play a large role or not, but her name suggests such a character. It's Goodenough. I was just telling Brian that there's a whole novel behind that name, and I might have to save her for her own story.