by Allison Pang
Secondary characters are sometimes my favorite thing about writing. As an author they give me the opportunity to focus on someone other than the main character, even if it’s for a few sentences here or there, as well as the ability to enhance the story. A good secondary character should be more than a cardboard cutout that shows up at opportune times – they need to be as much a part of the world as the main characters. Readers should feel as though those secondary characters have their own lives beyond what’s happening in the main course of the plot – but without having the secondary characters upstage the main characters. (Which does happen, sometimes – there’s quite a few secondary characters out there with fan followings of their own.)
My current favorite secondary character is Lady Corsair of The Iron Duke by Meljean Brook. I have a soft spot for pirates in particular, and this one intrigues me. We can see that she’s formidable, strong and sexy…but she’s got a secret or two that I *really* want to know. She’s not just a piece of the backdrop, either – she’s an intrinsic and necessary part of the world. Through her actions we learn more about the main characters and the world building in general, and all of it lends itself to a different facet of the plot.
For myself, I tend to sketch out the basics to begin with – brief family history, what they do, where they live. Additional details often pop up as I draft the book, but by the end I’ve got a pretty good idea of who they are – which is important, because sometimes even a tiny act performed by a secondary character can have longstanding repercussions in a series. It’s also helpful in case you decide you want to expand on that secondary character in a later book – i.e. make them the main character – much, much easier to do if you’ve already felt them out a bit.
(And speaking of which, for those of you who enjoyed Brush of Darkness, there is a Melanie short story in the works for a potential anthology. Anyone want to know how she got that magic violin? Me too.)
One lucky winner will receiving trading cards and the following:
The man of her dreams might be the cause of her nightmares.
Six months ago, Abby Sinclair was struggling to pick up the pieces of her shattered life. Now, she has an enchanted iPod, a miniature unicorn living in her underwear drawer, and a magical marketplace to manage. But despite her growing knowledge of the OtherWorld, Abby isn’t at all prepared for Brystion, the dark, mysterious, and sexy-as- sin incubus searching for his sister, convinced Abby has the key to the succubus’s whereabouts. Abby has enough problems without having this seductive shape-shifter literally invade her dreams to get information. But when her Faery boss and some of her friends vanish, as well, Abby and Brystion must form an uneasy alliance. As she is sucked deeper and deeper into this perilous world of faeries, angels, and daemons, Abby realizes her life is in as much danger as her heart—and there’s no one she can trust to save her.
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