For Isabel, Jackson is her kittenish sidekick. He eggs her on to play more and follows her lead on mouse-hunting excursions to the garage. He is her admiring audience and sometimes irritant.
For Jackson, Isabel is his role model – the wise advisor and gatekeeper. She enjoys privileges he does not, but shares willingly with him.
For each of them, the other is a secondary character in their own heroic tale. Which is how it should be.
Secondary characters are all a matter of perspective, aren’t they? After all a good character is a well-rounded one. I heard that advice first from brilliant novelist and short-story writer, Ron Carlson. He said that every character should have a complete life before they walk on the page and go on to live a complete life after they leave the page – no matter how brief their appearance.
In fact, particularly in romance series, the secondary characters in one book might go on to be the heroes and heroines of their own books. For this reason, also, secondary characters should always be the main characters in their own journeys. They should never be there only to prop up the hero or heroine. You never know when the readers might demand that character’s story!
Readers – was there ever a secondary character you loved that did or didn’t get their own story? And writers – did you ever have a secondary character you ended up writing into their own story that you didn’t originally plan to?