Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Secondary Characters

Other than background "extras" like a shopkeeper who is only visited once, secondary characters are our third type of character. They can be the minions of our main character or antagonist. They can be a friendly neighbor. They can be a supportive best friend. Basically, they're the character who would be looking to get "best supporting actor/actress" if this was a movie.

Spirit Riddled has several that I can think of off the top of my head. All are created because the main character or antagonist needs this person to exist, either to further the plot or to be the character they are. For example, if your main character is a second son who is not to inherit the throne, then there needs to be a firstborn. This firstborn may not be directly tied to the conflict in anyway--he may not even show up in the story directly. But his existence directly correlates to how the second son thinks and behaves. An example of someone who furthers the plot might be the assassin your villain hires to kill off your main character. He exists so that there is an assassination attempt on your main character, allowing him to realize someone has it in for him--thus furthering the conflict.

So these characters are created to compliment the other characters (though by compliment I don't always mean to make look better. Sometimes they make the main character worse). In a past post, I mentioned how its important to me, as a writer, to know the future of a main character--to know whether they marry and if they do who it is. And I asked for your help to create this person. So Mage's wife. Who is she? How did I create her? Did you guys help? Yep. Your comments definitely helped.

So, I was having an extremely hard time thinking of this character--how she would compliment Mage, how she would challenge him, make him grow as a character, and yet be the wife he needed. I was really stumped, and all the comments helped. Some of the comments made me think "No, Mage would never go for that" or "No, that sort of person who never help Mage to be who he needs to be". But some made me think "Yes, Mage needs that!" or "that could help him". However, one comment in particular struck me. My friend, Michael Gabriel said that she and Mage needed to have a "mutual concern for children".

My immediate thought was "yes, of course!" Mage could never be with someone who didn't care for abandoned and lonely children like he did. He would resent her, she would be in direct conflict with one of his life goals. This thought gave me the foundation I needed to create a character who loves lost children more than anything--perhaps even more than Mage.

So for those of you who helped and are curious, here is a small blurb about the woman who will be Mage's wife. A secondary character that was only recently created.

Name: Bridgette Tailor
Occupation: tailor, teacher
History: Bridgette is the middle class daughter of two tailors, and that is what she believes she will one day be. However, she has a kind of heart and is always caring for sick neighbors. She particularly loves children and wants to help the abandoned children of her nation, but doesn't know how. Her parents worry for her safety and don't want her going into the bad parts of their city. And then one day she comes into contact with an abandoned boy.
Attributes: Kind. Bridgette's main characteristic is that she's a bleeding heart. She will help anyone if they need it, even if they are thieves or "demon-possessed". Self-Conscious. Bridgette doesn't really think much of herself. Most people mistake her self-demeaning personality as modesty, but its not. She really just doesn't think she's worth most people's time--which is one of the reason why she is so selfless and throws herself into helping other people so much. Hard-working. Bridgette believes in working hard to get where you want. Though she's willing to teach and help anyone, she believes in teaching a man to fish, so he can feed himself forever. Ardent. When Bridgette believes in something or someone, its with her entire being. She will do everything she can for that cause or person. Reasonable. Despite her ardent nature, Bridgette never loses her ability to be reasoned with. She doesn't blindly believe anything.

Thank you everyone who helped! I'm excited to see how the secondary character of Bridgette will affect Jess and Mage and help them to become better people.

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