Life would get pretty dull if we had no one to talk to, right?
Remember the movie Castaway? Tom Hanks ends up painting a face on a volleyball and talking to him, even crying when 'Wilson' floats away after he's gotten over the reef in attempt to be rescued.
Humans are social creatures. And in order to write an interesting book, we have to have our main characters, but in order to understand them a little better, we need to see them interacting with friends and family. Enemies. People you pass on the street.
Secondary characters add depth to your story, and yes, even provide comic relief. I loooooooove Kelly Kirch's Puck character in Marriage Plot, and wish she would write another story around him. He was funny; he pursued his woman in the background, and was loyal to his friend Nicholas.
I was thrilled to learn two of my fellow authors actually bought and read All She Ever Wanted, and emailed me privately, asking for a sequel. Seems they were intrigued by one of the characters, mentioned late in the story, and want to see why he's the way he is.
They got their wish; I was beginning to write a story, based on an idea I had thrown at me by a former classmate, and wrote a few scenes. But it didn't really come together until I received the email. I went back, changed the main character's name....and suddenly, I couldn't seem to stop writing! Class Reunion is in final edits and should be releasing sometime this year.
But honestly, can you imagine Harry Potter without Neville or Luna? How about Scarlett without Prissy or Mammy? Anny Cook's Mystic Valley without Tyger, Lyon, or any of the rest of Jade's children? Or even Came-A-Lot without Pansy the Tooth Fairy? Arbor University's Emery Hall without Bonnie, the Resident Assistant? Eureka's Cafe Diem without the customers?
Okay...bear with me...I feel a PBS flashback...'who are the people in your neighborhood...'
Everyone around you adds to your lives, whether you're conscious of it or not. Why should it be any different in the lives of the characters we're creating?
Who are some of YOUR favorite secondary characters? Think about that the next time you fall in love with a book.