Home » Writing » Falling for the wrong guy…

Falling for the wrong guy…

Oh dear…

I’ve fallen for the wrong man.

It’s not that I don’t love the main love interest in my next book, I do, I mean he’s awesome. It’s just, well, I have a secondary character who keeps grabbing my interest. I can’t help it!

I haven’t had many secondary characters in my books so far; being novellas I don’t want to overwhelm readers with unnecessary characters in a smaller word count. Yet this story is taking on a life of its own and stopped being novella status about 7,000 words ago.

Anyway, I do have supporting characters in this story, and there is one that is really coming to life. He has been a blast to write and I find myself sighing dreamily every time I come to write him 😀 But isn’t that part of the fun of writing, creating characters that not only the readers can enjoy but the writer too?

The main characters shouldn’t be the only people the reader wants to get involved with, right? If we do our job well, then our secondary characters should be as real as the main ones and a joy to read.

It got me thinking of all the supporting characters I’ve read in books, and how they can make a story so much stronger and unexpectedly so. They are an important factor in writing, one that sometimes gets overshadowed by the story and main characters I think.

I read Mathew Reilly’s, ‘Jack West Jr’ series, and some of the most memorable characters, for me, out of those books were secondary characters: Stretch, Pooh Bear, The Adamson twins. Incredibly written characters that were not the focus of the story but wouldn’t have been a such a great book without them.

Obviously, the character I’m writing hasn’t become the main focal point of the story, and if he did I think he might lose something for it, but he really does fulfil the best role as a supporting character. I just hope readers have as much fun with him as I have!

Have you written many secondary characters? Do you like them? Who are some of your favourite secondary characters, and from what books?

Progress Report

Word Count: 6266 (50,747 total word count).

Status of Third Manuscript: First draft written! Editing.

April E-Book Review: Book chosen.

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75 thoughts on “Falling for the wrong guy…

  1. Secondary characters are my favorite and I’ve probably written too many. 🙂 I’ve read several books in which I didn’t connect with the main character. Thank goodness for the secondary ones that kept me curious and entertained! Great post, love, love, Love these characters.:)

  2. That’s the fun of writing a series. You can fall in love with secondary characters and then write their story. The challenge is that so many characters squat rooms in your brain, you have to figure out how to keep the stories straight and aligned.

    • Very true, I think this is the first story I’ve ever had where I’ve fallen as much for the secondary character as much as the main ones! 😀

      Thank you for reading and commenting 🙂

    • Oh, what a question! 😀 My editing process usually includes reading it through on the computer first and changing what I see and mopping up mistakes. Then I print it out on paper and go through with a highlighter and red pen, and revising on computer. Then print out again and repeat. I do this about 5 times before finally sending it off to my readers.

      Then when I get it back I edit it all with the suggestions, and go through a read out-loud session with my mum and sister, and then do a final edit!

      It’s quite intensive, but hopefully it pays off in the end 😀

      Thank you for the question, and for reading and commenting 🙂

  3. Yes! A million times Yes! I have a char in the trilogy that the more I wrote about him the more I loved him. I had to work very hard not to let him overtake the story.

    So much so I have enough backstory and information on him that I have a separate file just waiting for me to write a novella or book on him.

    • Glad you know the feeling too 😀 It’s hard not letting those characters come to the forefront and take over! He’s so awesome though, I think he shines through brightly on those moments he’s around.

      It’s great when we can get inspired by characters, and even more so if they get us to write another book on them! Good luck with it.

      Thank you for reading and commenting 🙂

  4. Oh secondary characters…

    I think it’s safe to say most of the stories in my ‘verse started out life as secondaries. Some stuck around to tell me their own stories and became MCs, and some are very happy to just an awesome supporting cast.

    I really love the way supporting cast fills out a world, like putting up posters in your bedroom. It just makes a world more real, ya know?

    I’m very bad about falling in love with secondary characters. My FAVORITE from my favorite author is a guy thy gets all of three paragraphs in only one of her books- but he jumps so thoroughly to life off the page that I adore him so! Gabriel Donovan FOREVA 😛

    • Supporting characters really help to make a world feel more real, they give a story that extra life and interest!

      Love the analogy of the poster in a bedroom, wish I could have posters of them 😀

      Thank you for reading and commenting 🙂

  5. There’s a Nordic thriller series by Jussi Adler-Olsen I enjoy, mostly because of one of the secondary characters. He’s funny yet dark, relatable yet mysterious. The author has written him so well that he improves every scene with his presence.

    • And that’s the point of secondary characters, right? To help bring life to a scene, and add that bit extra to the story 😀

      Thank you for reading and commenting 🙂

  6. Great post. I think if you feel as connected to your secondary characters as you do your protagonists then you’re doing your job well 🙂

    There are many examples I like… I’ve always found Curley’s wife in Of Mice and Men a particularly fascinating supporting character though. We learn so little about her yet she has such a huge impact on the story. They’re the kind of characters I like best! 🙂

  7. I completely agree. I read a historical by Anne Stuart and the secondary character totally grabbed my attention and I loved that thread almost as much as the one of the hero and heroine! Secondary characters can be absolutely beautiful and definitely enrich a story.

  8. I’m working on a fashion model detective novel right now where a secondary character becomes important late in the plot. I keep chewing my fingernail, trying to figure out how to give her more of a role early on because she is so alive. So, yes—I fall in love and want my readers to share that love. Thanks for the post—I’m glad to see that others go through the same thing.

    • Some characters just need to be added more into a story 😀 They have such a presence on the page, that it seems a shame not to let readers read more about them.

      Thank you for reading and commenting 🙂

    • It’s a good way for me to keep track of how I’m doing, and also an honest way of letting people how I am truly doing throughout this journey 😀

      Thank you for reading and commenting 🙂

    • Oh, I love that character, he’s exactly the kind of supporting character that I mean. He’s just a character you want to get to know more about, and enjoy reading when he’s on the page 😀

      Thank you for reading and commenting 🙂

  9. Wonderful post, I agree completely.

    One of my favourite secondary characters (by freak coincidence, that character can be found in my favourite series) is the Fool from Robin Hobb’s Farseer trilogy (and later books). As far as I know, Hobb didn’t plan for the character to play a major role in the books but (he/she/it… that’s never been 100% clarified) took on a life of his/her/its own when interacting with Fitz, the main character, and ended up playing a major role. I guess the lesson is, if it feels right, don’t fight it, let it evolve. I can’t wait for Hobb’s next trilogy to come out, it’s going to be “The Fitz and the Fool”, so obviously the author felt the Fool’s story wasn’t done yet. (I’m not one of those cynics who think it’s entirely because of fan requests and/or money.)

    In my own writing, what started as an intended minor secondary character whom my main protagonist met turned into a possible spin-off trilogy in the back of my mind, and more recently I ended up re-working the entire story to fit in both of these characters’ points of view. That’s just what feels right to me.

    • If it feels right to you, then it’s the best option for the story, that’s what I feel. Writing is such an instinctive thing, and I really believe the best choices in writing are those made on feeling and instinct!

      Thank you for reading and commenting 🙂

  10. I loved reading this blog! I believe secondary characters play a very important role in longer novels. They support the main character/s and often add interest and color to the story. I love one of my current secondary characters as well; he’s a fun-loving young cowboy with a gift for gab and the things that come out of his mouth never cease to entertain me. I find I can’t wait to write him into scenes, and have never had so much fun writing a character; he makes my job so easy! If only all of the main characters would be that easy to write… great post!

    • That’s exactly the kind of feeling I mean 😀 Those characters who just steal the scene and you get excited about writing.

      Your character sounds pretty awesome, I’d quite like to have him hanging around!

      Thank you for reading and commenting 🙂

      • You are quite welcome,I always enjoy reading your posts. I have actually just finished writing a delightfully entertaining chapter with my favorite secondary character, “Ryder”. I have a feeling he will be dropping by my blog site soon, he just can’t stand to be out of the loop.

    • After how this book just seemed to want to keep on going and going, I’m not sure I’m brave enough to attempt to go near a story like it again for a good while! 😀

      Thank you for reading and commenting 🙂

    • Very true, I guess because they are never as fully explored as the main characters, there’s always that air of intrigue about them. Plus, the reader can fill them out in their own head to make them even more great than originally planned 😀

      Thank you for reading and commenting 🙂

      • In a lot of cases, I think that’s exactly why secondary characters are so interesting. The spotlight’s not on them, so they end up leaving just enough to the imagination that the reader will make them so compelling unconsciously.

      • Yeah, I know I’ve done it whilst reading, building up secondary characters in my head for the parts the writer hasn’t let the reader know 😀

        Thank you for reading and commenting 🙂

  11. Great post!! I’m finding one of my secondary characters to be more interesting in certain ways than my primary character! She is a spin off of an experience I had with a former friend years ago, and it deals with some of the more psychologically dark experience that I’m finding I like to explore in my writing. I love taking personal experience and building on that to develop a rich and realistic character! 🙂

    • I do tend to find some of my experiences and traits come out more through secondary characters than main characters, I don’t know why that is, but you’re right; it does make for more real and fulfilling characters and story telling! 😀

      Thank you for reading and commenting 🙂

  12. This is an awesome post! I have had occasion when I’ve been writing to make what was supposed to be a secondary male character to my female protagonist actually develop himself so nicely that I ended up booting who she was supposed to be with and she latched onto the new guy! LOL!

  13. I like the character Melissa from my novel I’ve sent off to beta readers. She’s the best friend of my MC Anna. She tells it like it is and isn’t afraid to let Anna know her mind, especially when it comes to boy trouble! Great post which got me thinking about the secondary characters in my stories and that I need to make better use of them. Thanks!

  14. My hero in my WIP is a secondary character in my completed ms, and I am so in love. I think the challenge is going to be next one around (which is already unfolding in my head) because the hero for the 3rd in this series is the villain of the 1st. These boys haunt us into telling their story and finding them a HEA. 😉

    • They really do, some characters just refuse to leave my head and keep nagging until something more is written about them 😀

      Thank you for reading and commenting 🙂

    • It’s great fun though, when characters appear and BAM! Everything changes and the story develops so much differently 😀

      Thank you for reading and commenting 🙂

  15. I’ve had this happen to me too! So I spent a bit more time with the them in order to figure out why I liked them so much. In the end, I discovered that they were actually my main character.

    • It is good to look at character we enjoy writing, and why we like them so much, helps improve other characters later on down the line 😀

      Thank you for reading and commenting 🙂

  16. I do have quite a few secondary characters in my current novel because the place they live is the main character (in a way), so all of my characters need to be well drawn & it is proving quite challenging. Isn’t it super when you fall in love with a character?

    • Yeah, it’s the first story of mine where I’ve actually needed secondary characters due to the setting. Having them all come to life and feel real, rather than just lumped into the story is one of those writing tasks that’s challenging but great fun to learn and do 😀

      Thank you for reading and commenting 🙂

  17. I usually add a few secondary characters in my books and have had great feedback about them. It’s wonderful when people tell you they love your characters. It makes it all worth while 😀

    • It’s great when readers can really connect with characters and want to give feedback because they like them so much! 😀

      Thank you for reading and commenting 🙂

  18. I love when characters do that. I especially like it when a character takes you by surprise and goes in a completely different direction. Like when you’d intended to kill them off, but they somehow managed to wriggle their way out of it and come out the other side!

    There have been a few secondary characters in my books who got their own story because of a reaction to them, or the fact I fell under their spell 🙂

    I can think of a dozen great examples of secondary characters in literature who make the story that much stronger. I think that’s why the side-kick is so popular; without them the hero would be lacking something. It happens in media too. A show or film might introduce a character who is meant to complement one particular scene or story arch and due to a reaction from the audience they become much more than ever intended.

    I really enjoyed your post. We’re lucky as writers to be able to spend time with such wonderful characters 😉

  19. I am in awe of fiction writers like you, because my mind does not have the capability to create characters and stories from imagination. It’s also awesome that you are able to engage so many readers in your blog. Great job!

    • I do love coming up with characters, a lot of the time when a story idea pops into my head it comes with characters already 😀

      I do like to engage fellow bloggers, I really enjoy reading their opinions and comments on the topics I post about!

      Thank you for reading and commenting 🙂

    • Very true, I have seen that happen a couple of times. I’ve never done it myself, but now I can totally understand why writers go on to write other books about characters they love! 😀

      Thank you for reading and commenting 🙂

  20. Hi Harliqueen, you must be doing a great job if your secondary character has you in a spin. I have an elderly lady, who is landlady to my main character, and she is slightly overpowering, in a good way I hope. My fave secondary character has to be Huckleberry Finn to Tom Saywer. So there’s great hope for your man. Good luck with it.

    • Secondary characters really can just take the forefront in some scenes without the writer realising, but then that’s the best kind of writing, where you go where the characters want 😀

      Thank you for reading and commenting 🙂

  21. I feel that there are so many secondary characters I’ve written that I like–probably from the 3 stories I’ve written so far, I like all of them equally as I do the main character. To me, they go hand in hand 🙂

  22. When I started to write my first novel I had a very clear idea about who the main characters would be, but it almost came naturally to me to make something of the others in the story. All of my characters are based on people I either know, or have met. I can explain where each one came from, it’s a lot of fun to play around with. I think they have to have their own spots in the story to keep it interesting. Happy writing! LL

    • It’s great when characters can really become so integral to the story, and I find readers tend to pick favourites from all characters, not just the main ones nowadays 😀

      Thank you for reading and commenting 🙂

  23. Quite understandable. I think I love Hermione more than Harry. IMO, the story arc would be flat without her and Ron, although Harry is a powerful MC (no pun intended).

    On another note, could you do a post about the anti-hero as a possible MC in the future, if you haven’t done so already? That topic has been on my mind a lot lately. I think that the “bad guy/girl” has an interesting story to tell, too.

  24. I know what you mean–that happens in some TV shows I’m watching too–and in Detour Trail, I love Bolt, but Lorrie wasn’t ready to settle down yet…

  25. I had a secondary become so strong in character that I spun him off into his own story. Now, I’m struggling to cut his part down in the other novel so his supportive role is just that. I think if we let them, secondary characters can take over the story. We can’t have an unbalanced portion to their scene time.

    • Those characters are some of the best and strongest, but as you say, it’s trying to keep them to a secondary role when they so want to be a main character! 😀

      Thank you for reading and commenting 🙂

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