Managing Secondary Characters

I’m in the process of writing the seventh book in my Wicked Plays series and I currently have over eighty-three different characters spread throughout the seven books. Eighty-three! With only fifteen of them being main characters. That’s a whole lot of secondary characters to manage.

The table I use is pretty basic with four columns for name, eye color, description and book. I make sure to keep it updated with the descriptions and information about every character that is mentioned so I stay consistent throughout the books, don’t duplicate names and make each one unique. I can’t tell you how many times I had to check to see what color Cali’s collar is or what color someone’s eyes are or what names I used for someone’s parents or siblings or you name it.

BONDSOFNEEDbyLyndaAicherNow there were some secondary characters I knew would be main characters the second they appeared on the page. When Rock showed up in book 2, Bonds of Need, I knew he needed his own book. There was
Bonds of Desire by Lynda Aichersomething about the quiet, mysterious ex-military man who was a complete whiz on the computer. It was the same with Noah when he came into the very end of book 3, Bonds of Desire. I had no idea what his story was, but there was something about his carriage and air that scream to me that he was lead material.

Bonds Of Denial_Lynda AicherYou might be surprised by this, but Holden Hauke was first referenced in book 2 and I knew right then that he’d have his own book and exactly what his story was. He was referenced again in book 5, Bonds of Denial, but BondsOfCourage_Lynda Aicherwon’t get his own story until book 6, Bonds of Courage. I had to wait over a year to write his story after it first came to me. Killer!

Book 7, Shattered Bonds is the last book in the Wicked Play series and I have a ton of tearing apart, rebuilding and series finishing going on in this book, as well as, carrying the main love arc of Noah and Liv. This is by far my most complicated story to write simply because of the sheer number of characters in it. I’m so thankful for my table as I dig back for descriptions of characters that were in books 1 & 2 and details on habits or scents or nicknames or whatever I decided to do when I wrote the other books, some over two years ago.

I’ve been immersed in the Wicked Play world for a long time and it’s hard, sad and somewhat of a relief to be nearing its end. This is a big, convoluted family to me and soon I’ll have to let them go.  But with that is the excitement of building a whole new family in another series. Starting from scratch and seeing what happens as the world grows is all part of the fun of writing.  And you never know… some of these secondary characters just might turn up in the next series… Maybe.

 

 


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