How important are secondary characters?
Very Important. Think for just a minute how you might see The Harry Potter series without Neville Longbottom. Or perhaps Pride and Prejudiced with Jane Bennett.
Not so interesting, huh?
Important to remember the names for secondary characters. They should not be similar to the hero or the heroines name. The first names of these character should never start with the same letters. Names that sound similar or start with the same letter can be confusing to your reader. You don’t want the reader to confuse Crissy the servant with Sissy the villain. That would not be good. Remember, sound alike–Katy, Kathy, Cody–can confuse as well.
Where some writers will provide a full interview to get to know their primary characters, it isn’t always necessary for secondary characters. Does that mean they are less important? Less well-developed? No.
While they may not require the same depth of development, secondary charterers require the same amount of attention to the in development. Supporting characters who are well-developed are those who provide the proper support for your hero and heroine. Their development provides depth for the story and layers of interest to your novel.
Secondary characters provide a unique perspective through which the main characters can be viewed. What they see, hear, and think about your hero or heroine and the behavior gives additional insight to the main character.
Characters, like people, are often judged by the company they keep. If you wish to define a characters moral core, the companions they choose are a good gauge of moral compass.
Sometimes the secondary character allows us as readers to compare and contrast the desirable qualities between heroes and secondary characters.
Secondary characters can contribute to a story by the use of valuable dialogue. They will know–and so will your editor–which questions should be asked and which subjects the hero wishes to avoid, but shouldn’t. They hep to increase the conflict by introducing the taboo subject, and sometimes outrageous behavior.
Secondary characters are not held to the same high standards which we impose on our heroes. They do not benefit when they advance to primary status in follow-up stories. And be assured, romance readers love to see the secondary characters follow-up with their own story.