Gaining Insight Into the Hero and Heroine Through Secondary Characters

My unabashed love of secondary characters isn’t a secret. In fact, I’ve frequently shared my admiration of well-developed secondary characters.

Making the First Move by Reese RyanI’ve talked about how secondary characters can reveal essential information about primary characters and move a story’s plot forward. And I revealed what happened when a secondary character insisted on a story of her own. My philosophy is that it often takes a village to paint an accurate picture of how two characters meet and fall in love.

I love character-driven stories. Getting inside the heads of the primary characters. Discovering the people, places and experiences that form the hero and heroine’s intricate personalities and relationships.

Experiencing those interactions firsthand provides insight into the character in a way that hearing them secondhand can’t.

In Making the First Move, after a five-year absence, my heroine returns home and begins rebuilding relationships with her family and friends. Through those interactions we learn more about Melanie, and she discovers unnerving truths about herself.

Love Me Not by Reese RyanJamie Charles, the heroine in Love Me Not can be brusque, and she doesn’t trust easily. When characters from her past resurface, layers of the hardened exterior she’s constructed slowly begin to crumble. Those relationships, for better or worse, are a catalyst which prepare her for something she would’ve thought impossible–opening her heart to the hero, Miles Copeland.

Secondary characters can play a critical role in giving us insight into the protagonists in a story. As both a reader and a writer, there are often times when I can’t help but fall a little bit in love with those secondary characters, too.
Which secondary characters do you love or hate? How did he/she impact the story or reveal more about the main characters?


Gaining Insight Into the Hero and Heroine Through Secondary Characters — 4 Comments

  1. I love your remark about it taking a village to get to know a character. So true! We get a far better idea about what a character is like if we hear it from someone else than if we only hear the primary character’s internal thoughts. A secondary character will give us a truer picture in some cases.

    • Thanks, Jana. Very true about getting a truer picture. It’s like that saying, there’s his side, her side and the truth. When we witness the interaction we can come to our own conclusion about it.

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