Welcome to the ReAwakened blog tour hosted by Words, Pages, and Books. Today, I have the great pleasure of welcoming the author, Ada Adams as she talks about secondary characters.
Creating Secondary Characters
The main character is undeniably one of the most important components of any good novel. A well-developed, likable protagonist can help transform the story from “a fun read” into something much more remarkable. However, behind every main character is a team of secondary characters who also possess the power to make or break a story. As a writer, I find that creating secondary characters can, at times, be more difficult than crafting a main character.
When writing secondary characters, I always attempt to abide by two simple rules:
1. Secondary characters must be interesting.
Secondary characters provide a great way to add dimension to the story as well as help move the plot along. Angel Creek’s secondary characters: Brooke, Sophie, Hunter, and Seth, are an interesting bunch. When you meet them in ReVamped, on the surface, they appear to be very stereotypical. After all, Brooke is a cheerleader who seems to only care about her looks and boys. Sophie, on the other hand, spends most of her time with her nose deep within a book. Hunter is a non-conforming ex-addict. Seth, the newbie vampire, knows more about video game heroes than how to successfully be one in real life. Together, they form an unlikely bunch of misfit vampires, but over the course of the novel they grow, mature, and slowly learn to work as a team. In ReAwakened, they gain even more dimension as they mature and deal with ghosts from their pasts.
Personally, I would much rather read and write about interesting, flawed characters who deepen over time, than perfect, but slightly one-dimensional characters who always stay the same. When I imagine some really great “stereotypical” secondary characters who undergo a vast transformation over the course of their fictional lifespan, I always think back to the masterpiece that was Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The first season of the show presented viewers with a gang of very unlikely heroes. However, over the course of the series, those characters (while still keeping constant to their personas) change immensely and transform into characters with much more power and depth. Isn’t that kind of true about people in general? While our personalities stay fairly constant, we are faced with events, decision, and issues that, at times, shake us to the core and force us to reexamine our lives and our outlook on the world.
2. Secondary characters need a good storyline.
I believe that a strong storyline is also a must for secondary characters. Why give all the good stuff to the MC? Secondary characters’ storylines add to the excitement and allow readers to become invested in all characters. ReVamped’s misfits have very interesting pasts, which have influenced their personalities in a great way. In the first book, we only see a glimpse of their backgrounds; however things become more obvious throughout the rest of the series. In fact, in ReAwakened, some of these pasts “awaken” to haunt the characters’ presents. I always intended to write more about the misfits and their pasts, but it was only after I saw how invested the readers were in their lives that I truly began to understand how important this was. My secondary characters are extremely near and dear to my heart, and I’m very happy to know that my readers also feel the same way. Therefore, I am strongly considering doing a series of novellas based on the secondary characters. Show of hands, who would like a Hunter novella?
So, how deep should the secondary characters’ stories be? I believe that secondary characters’ backgrounds and storylines should be as well-plotted as those of the main characters. While less time is devoted to them within the novel, I find that it always aids my writing to explore the secondary characters on a deeper level. Should this be done with less important, tertiary characters as well? Probably not in the same way.
One thing that I’ve learned from my acting career is that sometimes, a character is simply there to do his/her job and get out. For example, early in my career, I would receive a one-line audition for “Waitress One” on a TV show. I would spend all day devising a backstory for this character, so that when I say my “May I take your order?” line, I would be thinking about this character’s family, motivation, troubled past, or whatever else I had written in my prep notes. One of the best things that my acting teacher had taught me (which I also often apply to tertiary character writing) is that, sometimes, the character is really there just to “take an order” and that’s it. Nothing more, nothing less.
Overall, I believe in colorful, interesting, and yes, even slightly flawed secondary characters with much potential for growth and development. I can’t wait to see what kind of exciting adventures Brooke, Sophie, Hunter, and Seth will find themselves in over the course of the Angel Creek series!
My question to you, dear readers (and other writers), would be: Have you ever liked a secondary character in a novel more than the MC? Why? Was it their personality, the storyline, or something else?
Publication Date: November 27th, 2012
Becoming a vampire guardian was Dawn Fairchild’s ticket out of the Scarlet House. Fresh off a successful mission, life in Angel Creek should have been great. But when her sort-of-maybe-boyfriend, Sebastian, disappears on a quest to help a beautiful vampire from his past, Dawn finds herself amidst a web of danger, lies, and deceit.
Joining forces with Razor, an enigmatic rebel lacking both a verbal and a physical filter, and her band of Misfits—Brooke, Sophie, Hunter, and Seth—Dawn is thrust into a race against the clock to solve the mystery surrounding brutal Born kidnappings and come to terms with the sudden discovery of her own unique powers. With time ticking away and Born vampires’ lives in jeopardy, it quickly becomes evident that someone—or something—desperately wants Dawn and is willing to shed any amount of blood to get her.
Dawn has only one chance to face her demons and overcome all obstacles standing in her way as she embarks on the biggest mission of her life—one that threatens a deadly outcome for all involved.
Goodreads link to ReAwakened: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/15731772-reawakened
More About the Author:
“Many people sing in the shower. I write scenes in my head and act them out.”
At the age of five, Ada read her first chapter book—Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren. Ever since that moment, she developed an intense passion for stories and characters found within the pages of literature.
In her career as an actress and a writer, Ada currently spends most of her days immersed in imaginary worlds. Much like the characters she enjoys playing and writing about, Ada is a martial artist with a Black Belt in Shotokan Karate. She is also a big proponent of lifelong learning, and has attained a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology (it aids in creating characters with unique quirks!) as well as a Master’s of Science in Education.
Ada strives to bring a fresh voice and perspective to fiction. She has been writing creatively for many years, and is an editor of a global fashion/literary magazine called VEUX. ReVamped is her debut novel.
She lives in Toronto, Canada, and enjoys adventurous nature hikes with her adorable puppies Cara and Oreo.
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