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Creating the Perfect Secondary Character



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Sun Apr 20, 2014 9:29 pm
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OliveDreams says...



Creating the Perfect Secondary Character.


If you’re like me, then you tend to find yourself falling deeply in love with your secondary characters more than your MC’s.

They’re the dorky sidekicks that I adore tripping up and the brooding romantics that I’ve handed a mysterious past.

It’s a situation that I keep finding myself in, both when reading and writing.

What is it about them? How do you make your secondary character tug on those heart strings? How do you make them just as memorable even though their not centre stage?

As the Queen of secondary characters, I’ll use J.K Rowling’s creations to give well known examples.

1. Make them as individual as possible.

They need to stand out. Give them an adorable quirk or a super annoying habit. Maybe they could have an outlandish accent? A creepy appearance or a catch-phrase that makes them instantly recognisable.



Cue Hagrid. Could you get anymore individual if you tried? I would also like to add a mention to Gollum from The Lord of the Rings series. Catch-phrase anyone?


2. Give them their own story.

Don’t just use them to fill the gaps. They demand to have their own life! They demand to have their own hopes, dreams and goals. Why does everything have to be about the MC? We like a little variety sprinkled in the pages. A trip off the beaten ‘MC’ track once in a while, isn’t a bad thing.

Two words. Severus Snape. I didn’t even know my heart could burst so violently.

3. Have them break up all the drama.

If you’re MC is one of those miserable, serious types intent on revenge or completing an ancient quest, your secondary character can always add a touch of comic relief. Now, I’m a huge fan of sarcasm. That’s my sense of humour, but you could select a different (more complex) form of wit, if you so wish. 



The most perfect example of this for me is Ron Weasley. Always there to be utterly useless with the opposite sex or highly embarrassed by his mother. He can be a wonderful respite from Harry’s often ‘oh so’ serious manner.


4. Use them to rip hearts out unexpectedly.

I think choosing to kill off your beloved secondary character is, although heart breaking to do, an amazing idea. It makes them even more memorable to your readers emotionally scarred souls and it can give your MC a new depth when reacting to the death.



Hello Fred Weasley, Dobby, Tonks, Lupin etc, etc, etc.


Go, make me fall in love with your secondary stars.
Be gentle with my heart.



Olive <3
"There is a dead spot in the night, that coldest, blackest time when the world has forgotten evening and dawn is not yet a promise."
  





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Sat Apr 26, 2014 11:58 pm
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PiesAreSquared says...



Number four. Good. Good. Very good.
The moment you say that one set of moral ideas can be better than another, you are, in fact, measuring them both by a standard, saying that one of them conforms to that standard more nearly than the other. C. S. Lewis

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Wed Apr 30, 2014 6:03 pm
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DrFeelGood says...



Lovely article! In fact in my story, the secondary character portraits more emotions than my MC. He is a guy who makes you laugh out loud right from the beginning of the novel, but has an emotional side which my MC witnesses in the later part of the story. Your ideas will definitely help me with my sidekick.

I really liked your suggestions, particularly the last one. Thank You!
  





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Wed Apr 30, 2014 7:32 pm
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OliveDreams says...



You are more than welcome! :D
"There is a dead spot in the night, that coldest, blackest time when the world has forgotten evening and dawn is not yet a promise."
  





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Fri May 30, 2014 4:51 pm
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pqkate35 says...



I think writing secondary characters is more fun than MCs. Mainly because I think you can add a depth of mystery to the secondary characters life story to the readers. I always love reading what each character storyline is aside from MCs. :D
  





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Thu Sep 18, 2014 6:53 pm
r4p17 says...



This was awesome and very helpful! My only nitpick is you didn't mention Sam or Watson! :D
One writer with one imagination makes thousands of new worlds and stories." ~ Anonymous author
  








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