Jennifer talks about secondary characters...
Unless your characters are either a) living in a bubble or b) the most enlightened minds in the world, your characters need some sort of a helper in order to understand how and why they’re doing something.
Our characters don’t live in a bubble. As Ana mentioned yesterday, they have a history that affects their today and their tomorrow. They interact with people and they react to events.
If our characters were the most enlightened minds in the world, chances are, we wouldn’t be writing about them, since there wouldn’t be a story there. We wouldn’t need to see the trials and tribulations they go through in order to reach true love. They’d snap their fingers and live happily ever after.
Therefore, they need helpers. In my books, those helpers are family, friends and children. In the manuscript that’s out with my agent currently, my character, Cassie, has close friends in whom she confides her fears and her feelings. They help her work through things and sometimes even push her toward the hero. They also meddle a little in her affairs by going directly to the hero and warning him to be careful, telling a little about her backstory and providing hints to the reader.
In my current WIP, Book 3 of my Women of Valor series, both the hero and heroine have family who help the reader understand their psyche. By seeing them react with their mother’s (especially the one mother who never lets anyone forget ANYTHING), the reader gets to see what makes them tick. The heroine also has a nephew, who’s seven. He helps explain things in a childlike way and is a great tool when something has to be explained step by step, but I don’t want to make the reader feel like an idiot.
These secondary characters are fun to write and develop and sometimes, it’s like laying out the pieces of a treasure map. They’re the reader’s guide to finding the X (and the O) on the journey to happily ever after.
Who are your helpers?