Secondary Characters

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Secondary Characters

Post by Deej on Sat Mar 23, 2013 9:41 am

Okay, I need help and or input regarding secondary characters. I've never done a sequel before, never thought I could, but now I have an idea for a sequel to Redemption and also two new books that would be a continuing story but with a 75 years gap in time, old west to modern day ranching.

I believe I'll be fine for the Redemption characters, it's the kids, grown up, and all of them are pretty well developed, but I need to understand what's important for the readers, and viable. What are some good ways you've seen it done and what are the pitfalls?

All opinions count, thanks.

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Re: Secondary Characters

Post by BassGuitarGirl on Sat Mar 23, 2013 12:03 pm

A story is a story, no matter where the characters come from. Your themes sound really cool for your new books. Don't you love how your mind just keeps on working on the stories even though you vowed NOT to write them. Go figure.

I think you'll need a flashback or two from the kids-turned-grownups so the reader can place them in the storyline. not many (unless that's the point of your story), just enough so that the reader has some idea who these characters are. (It's a sequel after all). Flashbacks are great if they inform the character about what to do in the present.

Now who exactly are the secondary characters -- I assume these are NOT the kids who will be grown up. How important are the secondary characters. If they were just walk-ons, then you don't need them in the sequels. If they are minor characters, figure out how much they influenced the major characters in the first book and decide if they're needed.


Last edited by BassGuitarGirl on Sat Mar 23, 2013 4:53 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Secondary Characters

Post by ElaineB on Sat Mar 23, 2013 2:29 pm

Yeah, you're not really talking secondary characters. In Redemption, they were, but in the sequel they'll be the main characters. Both stories sound kind of unique--I've never run across such a time span that I recall.

Tana French has made it her hallmark to take a secondary character from one book and make them the main character in another. In the Woods is told from the POV of Rob (I think is his name), with Cassie as a secondary (though important) character. The Likeness is Cassie's POV with Frank as a secondary. Faithful Place is Frank's story. And on it goes. She's a terrific writer and these are great books (though I like The Likeness the best because I LOVE Cassie), but I'm not sure they are great because of this technique. They are best read in order, especially the first two because there's a direct line of story. Not so much the third one. There is a fourth, but I haven't read it.

JM Redmann has lots of recurring characters over many books. The trick is to let people know what's going on without boring those who've read all the books. I found it was important to read the Micky Knight series in order because she kept referring back.

How much back story you include will depend on how separate the stories are. I would think that only if something that happened when they were little (from the first book) impacts them as adults would you need it.
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