Characters Part 3 – Secondary Characters

Do they get a name? Are they uniquely described or identified?

 
Does a character provide focus but not often? Do other characters in the story know them by name or by some unique attribute or description?

Any character that gets a name or is unique description/identification is at least secondary and perhaps primary.

Naming Names
Any named character becomes important due to human psychology; describe someone as “a waiter” and we’ve described their function, describe someone as “Bobbie the waiter” and we’ve given them an identity.
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Characters Part 2 – Primary Characters

What these people doing on these pages?

This is the third installment in a series I’m doing on StoryCrafting. We started with Revision and followed that with Characters Part 1 – Main, Principal, Central.

One of the comments I often get regarding my novel Empty Sky is the number of primary characters it contains.

Primary characters?

Yes! You know those characters that are neither main protagonist nor main antagonist yet without whom your story wouldn’t exist? Those are what I call primary characters. A working story with only two characters (and those two characters better be your protagonist and antagonist) is going to be either brilliant or short and perhaps both. Often those two characters needs to be complex to make the story interesting. A story with only one or two characters of only one- or two-dimensions that’s interesting…well, I haven’t read one (and am open to suggestion).
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Characters Part 1 – Main, Principal, Central

Who is that person and what are they doing in your story?

This is the second installment in a series I’m doing on StoryCrafting (this series began with Revision). This time we start investigating characters. Readers tell me I do great characters and my character development and growth are outstanding (one publisher wrote me that my characters are “spot on”).

Yippee for me because I work at it. It’s nice when one’s work is recognized and appreciated.

Part of my working at character resulted in my breaking down characters into categories based on their purpose in a story; Main, Primary, Secondary, Minor and Stage Direction. Character categories are different from character types; hero, villain, love interest, sidekick, comic relief, et cetera.
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William Noble’s “Make That Scene”

Helpful, Informative and packed with …

Although not a Writers’ Digest book (my edition is published by Erikson), it reads like one. Like all Writers’ Digest books, this is a good primer+ for writers on the road to authorhood. There were some definite takeaways, some things I stopped to consider (I’m happy when a book makes me think. It means it’s teaching and I’m learning). Noble does a good job with examples (it seems all these Writers’ Digest type books pull from the same sources for examples).
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Paul Darcy Bowles’ “StoryCrafting”

Paul Darcy Bowles’ “StoryCrafting” offers a good toolbox for writers at any point in their career

StoryCrafting is (so far) one of the best all-around books I’ve read on the art of writing. For one thing, Bowles spends a great deal of the book on revision/revising and gets into specifics; things to look for, things to be aware of, what not to do, what to definitely do, … Lots of books talk about revision/revising while not offering much about the mechanics of doing so (my opinion). Bowles also provides ample insight on subjects like POV, Character, Plot, Scene, … It’s truly an good toolbox for anyone learning their craft.

The best part of this is that Bowles demonstrates his process while honoring yours. He makes suggestions for your process and in the end, if something’s working for you and you know it’s working for you, don’t change it. Figure out why/how it’s working and make it better.

Sage words, that.
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