The beast roared again.
It knew Relo was there. It had known the moment he’d walked into the cave, its heightened sense of taste and smell had alerted the beast to this trespass. But Relo had anticipated this. In thirty-four years as a Tapped Acolyte he’d hunted every species Nellis had to offer. He knew each weakness, each strength, and when Nellissian people were threatened, he had no qualms about exploiting such knowledge. This, after all, was not a matter of fair play but a matter of survival.
Me: Relo … huh … that’s an interesting name. Sounds kinda like “reload” which makes sense given the whole science fiction element, right?
Me: (Because I really am crazy enough to discuss these things with my pets) I know, I know. Relo … what? Relo Bomani? Sounds exotic and … you know … they’re on an alien planet and all … OK. So … the hero’s name is Relo Bomani.
…. approximately 700 words later ….
“I see I missed the action,” Seach said. Most of his face was still in shadow but Relo knew the man was frowning.
“It was a surprisingly fast battle.” Relo looked down at his thigh and tried to determine how bad the wound was.
Seach walked to him, fixing the light on his wounded leg. “But not uneventful. Sit still.”
“Actually, I think I cut myself on its tail when I tried to get out of the way.” Relo took the phosphorous light from Seach and angled it so his friend could work.
Seach snorted his amusement as he crouched beside him, slipping the pack off his shoulder as he did so. “Serves you right for coming out here alone. I swear, sometimes I think you are trying to die.”
Me: … huh … I like this Seach fellow.
Cat: (just purrs cause by now he’s laying on my feet)
… 3000 words later …
Me: Ugh. I hate this book. I do not like the way it’s going. Relo is too … just too … strong. Not enough vulnerability in him. And he’s not funny.
Cat: (lots of meowing cause he’s crazy enough to think I can understand him)
Me: I know! Seach is so much more interesting. He makes me laugh. And he’s not afraid to fail. I totally love him.
Cat: (stops meowing because I’m scratching under his chin and he’s in kitty heaven)
Me: But you know, I’m not liking much of this plot either. Let’s change everything. We’ll make Seach the hero. Keep Jorry as the female lead. Relo can be the secondary.
Cat: (suddenly bops me on the hand because he’s had enough attention for one day but he’s too lazy to move out of hands reach)
… About a year later …
“You know Jorry won’t drink that,” said a familiar voice.
Seach relaxed and glanced at Lieutenant Cavil as they continued through the D-Fac. Her black hair was shaved close and he could see little spirals of dark curls pressed up against her scalp. She grinned at him, her teeth bright white against the backdrop of her ebony skin. Cavil was beautiful in that hard way that military officers could be. It was like all the training and battle she had seen managed to sharpen her appeal and for half a second he forgot the danger they were in.
“Lieutenant Cavil,” he said with a smile. In his peripheral view he saw Jo look up from her computer. “It’s been a while. Decided you were ready to tell me your first name?”
“It’s been two years and eight months,” Cavil said and laughed. “I thought you would have lost interest by now.”
“Lost interest in a beauty like you?” Seach clucked his tongue and winked at her. “Never.”
… So … Have I ever had a secondary character steal a book from me?
Yes. Very much so. I revamped all of Tapped to accommodate a new hero in Seach and I have never regretted it. He’s funny and vulnerable and he really made the story for me. He even counterbalances Jorry as the lead female character precisely because of those traits.
Hop over to some of my fellow authors to see if they’ve ever dealt with a scene-stealing secondary character before!
Marci Baun http://www.marcibaun.com/
Anne Stenhouse http://annestenhousenovelist.wordpress.com
Fiona McGier http://www.fionamcgier.com
A.J. Maguire https://ajmaguire.wordpress.com/ (YOU ARE HERE)
Beverley Bateman http://beverleybateman.blogspot.ca/
Diane Bator http://dbator.blogspot.ca/
Margaret Fieland http://margaretfieland.com/my_blog
Victoria Chatham www.victoriachatham.webs.com
Connie Vines http://connievines.blogspot.com/
Geeta Kakade http://geetakakade.blogspot.com/
Rhobin Courtright http://rhobinleecourtright.com
8 thoughts on “Attack of the Secondary Character – Round Robin Discussion”
All too familiar, AJ. Thanks for posting the progress. It was so interesting to see how it worked out. Anne Stenhouse
Yeah, I think just about every writer comes to that place 3000 words in and hates what they’re writing.
I like the fact you brought out the counterbalancing factor…it’s an important role for secondary characters.
I completely agree. Everyone has different strengths and weaknesses. We actually need other people to help make up for those things we lack.
Sounds like kitty nearly took over your post, too, but that’s the nature of cats. Interesting take on Relo, Seach, and Jorry. The deference is apparent as is the chemistry between the characters.
Ha! Yes, my cat does like to take over things. (I call him Pest for a reason.) But I do so love him.
I liked how you set up the post and showed how secondary characters can intrude and take over.
Thank you! I certainly had fun writing it.