Saturday, May 20, 2006

Secondary characters or second-class citizens?

I believe secondary characters are a necessity. Some romance house guidelines specifically downplay them. I don't believe I could write for them.

A secondary character can be a confidant, competition for the hero or heroine, or simply a person who adds a little more depth to the story. Which leads me to the you like ensemble books?
Books that have several different characters woven together to make the story? Or do you prefer the one-on-one relationship betwixt the hero/heroine? How important are secondary characters to you? And when do they cease to become secondary and start to become primary?

Even when I write romance heroines with siblings, I try to make sure that my heroine gets her page time. I may throw in a little about the sibling-mostly for heroine reference-but it really is about the heroine. But what do you do when they're both important? Do you try to write a story with TWO heroes and TWO heroines? Would it be a mish-mash? Would you read such a book? How many threads do you like? When do they become a tangled mess?

I have to admit that most days I like a singular hero/heroine relationship. But I still enjoy reading about secondary characters. And most times, if they're REALLY good, I want to continue to read their story if it becomes available.

It doesn't take a village to write a book, but sometimes I don't mind reading about one.


Tori Lennox said...

I don't mind secondary characters. Of course, mine have a habit of trying to take over the book. :) But one of my favorite mystery series (Carole Nelson Douglas' Midnight Louie series) has a group of secondaries that I adore. Nine brothers. All single. All very well dressed. All armed to the teeth. With possible mobster connections. And I love love LOVE them. I want the Fontana boys to have their own series. *g*

Rene said...

I like secondary characters, but I don't like it if they take over a book. I read a book where the secondary characters had a romance and it really distracted from the main characters. But they can also be fun and add color to the story.

Olga said...

I don't mind second character at all, especially if they are interesting and entertaining. I wouldn't have a problem picking up a book with 2 couples, especially if it's ST and they both have enough page time. However, if there are too many characters, and it is given POV (like in one of the books I've read recently), it distracts me from the main characters. I'd rather spend time and get to know the central couple.

Karin Tabke said...

secondary charcters can add layer and dimension to the main charcters as well as the story.