Monday 1 April 2013

10 Great Secondary Characters

A few years ago, someone in my RWAC chapter did a craft session based on the Donald Maass workshops.  I don't know if you have his workbook, but one of the exercises is about writing down all the things you love in great stories, as well as all the things you hate.  The point, of course, is that in your own writing you should concentrate on the elements you love in other's writing ... thereby making people fall in love with your manuscript.
Spike in full scuba gear.  He says he had nothing to
wear (laundry day) but I think he likes the latex ...

One of the things I love in great stories is letting the secondary characters be the comic relief.  I think you want your hero and heroine to be funny (at least in chick lit) ... that goes without saying ... but the really outlandish stuff can go to your secondary characters ... they are the real heart of really great romantic comedies.

Your secondary characters can do things the main characters can't.  They can make bad choices, behave completely irresponsibly, wear weird clothes, hit on inappropriate men ... and they are often the reason I laugh out loud when I'm reading or watching a movie.

Here are some of my favourites from movies and TV:

10) Betty White - The Proposal
9) The Clergyman - The Princess Bride
8) Scarlett - Four Weddings and A Funeral
7) Ned Ryerson - Groundhog Day
6) Kevin, Creed, Oscar  - The Office
5) Morgan - The Mindy Project
4) Billy Mack - Love Actually
3) Cyn (Joan Cusack) - Working Girl
2) Spike - Notting Hill
1) Schmidt - New Girl

Do you have any faves??


  1. You watch way more movies than I do. Kathy Bates in Blind Side?

    1. I can't even remember her in that movie .. man, I need to watch that again!

  2. I love great secondary characters - the ones you mention in Love Actually and The Princess Bride are classic. My favourites:

    Wash, in Firefly; Agent Coulson; Nevil Longbottom and the Weasley brothers in HP; and the Dean in Community - so many characters who make the most of smaller roles and end up being hugely satisfying characters. :)

    1. Agent Coulson! Good call!! Some of the others I don't know as well (Hayden's the HP fan ... I just tag along).

  3. Billy Mack! Awesome! He was so fabulous! And yes, secondary characters can totally steal the show. Love 'em but can't think of any besides those mentioned already.

    1. Billy Mack was so good ... I think I liked him because he was naughty .. :)

  4. Hi, Nicki

    Thanks for dropping by my blog earlier... I couldn't agree more... I love secondary characters ... Most tomes more than the mc!

    I write y/a and m/g... Love her minor and Ron in the Harry potter series!

    Also if you remember the 90 sitcom Cubill? Loved Maryann played by Christine baransky!

    1. Christine Baransky! Love her! Didn't watch Cybill, but I do watch The Good Wife and she's fantastic in that too. Good pick!!