Sunday, September 14, 2008

Secondary Characters

Secondary characters
When you write a book, it’s inevitable that secondary characters emerge. Sometimes they threaten to take over a leading role, and the only way you can get them to behave is to promise them their own story.
But then you have to follow through. I write linked books in small series—trilogies, four books, maybe five. All except for the Richard and Rose books which are very different from anything else I write.  And you find characters, people who jump out of the pages at you.
The latest is Antonia. The second Secrets book, Alluring Secrets, is due out next month, and the hero, Severus, Earl of Swithland, has a sister. Lively, intelligent, she serves as a friend and a foil to the heroine, Penelope. But throughout the book, I had to force Antonia to keep to the background, and now I have a character in search of a hero.
Who should she have? Recently I had to give up on a book, when the heroine I wrote for Corin, the third son of the Triple Countess, didn’t work. The plot was fun, but the hero and heroine together just didn’t work. I put them through their paces and they behaved well enough, but—sigh. They just didn’t work. And if it’s hard for me to keep awake while I’m writing them, sure as sugar it’s going to be a book that dies on the shelves. Apart, they were sparkling, interesting characters. Together, they were something I can only describe as meh.
So I have Corin, and I have Antonia. Will they work? The only way I can find out is to try. But I have the feeling that Corin and Antonia will turn out to be the best of friends—and very little else.

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