Creating a Secondary Character

I’m currently working on the first act of a new novel and have been struggling with the role of one of the secondary characters. I knew I wanted him to be blond and that I wanted him to shake up the main character’s life but that was about it. Not exactly enough to fill 200 pages.

So I decided to put some of the Hauge tips into practice and thought I’d share how it worked. Here is what I did:

I made a table showing the Before and After pictures for the main character. In the first column, I wrote my Six Things That Need Fixing (a la Blake Snyder). In the third column, I wrote the end of result of those things being fixed. When I was done, I used column 2 to write ways in which the secondary character could help the MC change from who she is in column 1 to who she will become in column 3. For example:

Column 1: MC Before
Susan hates Cheese

Column 2: Transition from 1-3
Bob takes Susan to cheese emporium where she discovers that Gorgonzola is actually quite tasty

Column 3: Main Character  After
Susan loves cheese

This may sound like a bit of a trivial exercise but I can honestly say that it helped me nail exactly what my secondary character needs to do in the novel.

And now that I have patted myself on the back, I am going to eat some Gorgonzola. It really is lovely in a cream sauce with a few red grapes thrown over some tortellini. Mmmm.

Category: On Writing