We have all seen the sequel, the spin off, the series and been hooked. How many versions of Law and Order have succeeded? Or NCIS? We were hooked when Maude got her own show, and Rhoda? Okay, most of you are too young to remember those but you might have seen Melrose Place or at least The Simpsons. All spinoffs, where the secondary characters left the primary show and became the focal point of their own hour. Successfully.
Secondary characters are often anything but. For example, my first draft of Bedazzled was narrated by Keeli alone. I thought it would be stronger if you did not know Wyatt’s feelings for her. After feedback from a wise beta reader, I changed the narrative to alternating viewpoints. But that gave me a new problem. Wyatt needed a bestie with whom to share his feelings so the readers would know them too.
Enter a slew of secondary characters – Wyatt’s sisters, his best friends from childhood, Keeli’s brother and best friend back home, her roommates, her friend and follow artist, Clarissa. These characters each had their own personalities and backstories and as I wrote, those stories interested me too.Secondary characters are often anything but. Help me decide on my next novel!… Click To Tweet
That is how the Beguiling Bachelor series was born. Suddenly, I was fleshing out some of these secondary characters and making them the heroes and villains of other works. Of course, these new novels introduced still more characters, and – as the commercial says – they told two friends and they told two friends and so on.
Now I have a whole community surrounding my bachelors and as I wind down to the last book in my series about Wyatt, Randall, Alex and Tyler I am wondering whether to start fresh or flesh out some of the peripheral characters you have already met through these books I am not sure yet.
What Comes Next?
In Besotted, due in Spring, 2018 you will be introduced to some characters with real potential.. I won’t give them away quite yet. But consider the characters you have already met. What is Missy’s history? Did she have a wild romance with Stephen or someone else before she settled down? What does the future hold for younger brother Ethan Howe? Only time will tell.
These characters keep the story in a tight overlap with my existing bachelors, but if I focus on Keeli’s brothers, they story moves from Chicago to the cornfields of central Illinois. That might be an interesting new direction for me,.
It’s a real dilemma. My readers often ask to see more of the characters they have come to know and love – or hate. But for an author, limiting the setting can limit imagination. And that can lead to writer’s block, or worse, stale, boring writing.
I have considered following up on Clarissa, Keeli’s friend and fellow artist. I found her a fascinating and charismatic character, but with my background as a techie, could I really portray her creative world sufficiently? Should I even try?
Learning from the Best
I think about a talk given by legendary writer Ann Patchett, who said she knew nothing of opera when she wrote her bestselling novel Bel Canto. She wanted to learn about opera, so she wrote about opera. Bel Canto was even reimagined as an opera and debuted to rave reviews. Perhaps a series in the world of creative artists might open a new avenue for me as a writer..
I am toying with several ideas, so maybe I will take a hiatus from my Bachelors and write something with a new point of view. I like writing about the wealthy – they are so different from the average person. I like portraying their road from entitled to empathetic, from proud to humbled, if only a little. But there is so much out there to observe, so many viewpoints, so many different stories,
Do you Have a Favorite?
And so I am torn. After Besotted, the story of Tyler and Regan’s romance, will I leave my Beguiling Bachelors for a while or remain with them? What do you want to see? Which characters do you want to see more of – Ethan, Missy, Daniel, Clarissa or even Clarissa’s sister, Joanne, who you met as Alex’s smart assistant? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.
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