Y’all know I always love it when Tina Radcliffe stops by the blog! She’s got a great post & a great giveaway for you today – make sure you have your swoon-protection aids in place for the cover of her new book, Ready to Trust!
READY TO TRUST
SERIES: Hearts of Oklahoma #2
GENRE: Inspirational Contemporary Romance
PUBLISHER: Love Inspired
RELEASE DATE: July 21, 2020 (print) / August 1, 2020 (ebook)
Proving he’s a changed man could be his biggest challenge yet.
Rancher Reece Rainbolt’s shocked to learn he’s inherited half of Claire Ballard’s family farm—and that he’s a father. Now Claire’s determined to break ties with the man who once left her behind. But Reece will buy her half only on one condition: she must stay in town to help with the harvest… and let him get to know his little girl.
in praise of secondary characters
by Tina Radcliffe, author of Ready to Trust
Being a writer is, at times, a God-like feat. We create people. Three-dimensional people with flaws and foibles. People who become real to our readers if we do our job correctly.
However, the most challenging part of breathing life into characters is, in my opinion, the secondary character.
They must be as real as the protagonists, yet, they cannot take over. It’s a very fine balancing act.
The secondary character has a vital role in a story, and without them, the entire book can fail.
The protagonist of the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling, IS Harry but the series would lack richness without the essential secondary characters of Weasley and Hermione. They are strong secondary characters, but if you pause to examine the story, it is clearly Harry’s journey.
The same is true of Anne of Green Gables by L.M Montgomery. The protagonist is Anne. It’s her story. But there are many secondary characters in the series who are absolutely necessary. They not only flavor the story, but they have important tasks in leading Anne to her final goals.
I really enjoy writing and reading about secondary characters, and as you may have guessed, I want to talk about them today.
Let’s start by discussing the different types of secondary characters you’ll encounter in most books and movies.
First the strong secondary characters. They often appear as side-kicks or the best friend character. Those are the characters you hope and pray will get their own book.
In the Heart of Oklahoma series, it would be each of the siblings. Mitch, Reece, Tucker, and Kate. But here’s a secret. In book 3 of the Hearts of Oklahoma series, His Holiday Prayer, I created a character named Finn Hardy, who absolutely tried to take over.
Finn was supposed to be a walk-on. A flat character with little background, however, no matter how hard I try to make him behave, he kept hogging the spotlight.
Eventually, I know I have to write his story, because I want to know what that story is.
And then there’s the mentor. The mentor is typically a wise secondary character—a teacher, motivator and encourager.
When they are older characters, writers have the freedom to let these people be the cliché spouters. Who doesn’t love a crotchety silver-haired cowboy with a pocketful of Western wisdom?
In Anne of Green Gables, the person who most guides Anne into who she will be one day is Miss Stacey.
In Harry Potter, that mentor is Professor Dumbledore.
Possibly, one of my favorite mentors of all-time is Donkey in the Shrek movie franchise. Donkey pushes Shrek to be brave with wit, sarcasm and humor.
What about the antagonist? Typically the villain. In other stories, they may simply become the foe of the protagonist. Or their rival.
Wouldn’t that be Gilbert Blythe? Though they eventually become friends and yes, he becomes a love interest.
In Harry Potter, the antagonist is Lord Voldemort.
I mentioned a flat character. These are characters who have a minor role. They don’t change over the course of the story or series, and we don’t have a lot of background information on them. In the Heart of Oklahoma series, that would be the pastor’s wife Saylor Tuttle, a Dolly Parton look-alike. These characters are typically stereotypes.
Flat characters in Harry Potter are Draco Malfoy’s posse friends. In Anne of Green Gables, it would be busybody Mrs. Rachel Lynde.
Here’s a character rundown from Book 2 in the Hearts of Oklahoma series, Ready to Trust.
Protagonists: Reece Rainbolt and Claire Ballard
Secondary Characters of note: Tucker Rainbolt. Mitch Rainbolt and his wife, Daisy.
Mentors: Willard Cornell and Nan Turner
Flat Characters: Saylor Tuttle and Chef Luna Diaz
Now it’s your turn. Tell me about some of the secondary characters in your favorite books or movies. Those that stay with you long after you finish reading the book or watching the movie. Are there any that got their own book? Or you wish they would? Do you remember any that tried to take over the book?
Leave a comment, and I’ll be sending a Reader Giveaway Pack to one commenter. It includes a Kate Spade Canvas Book Tote and a $25 Amazon gift card.
A freelance writer for over twenty years, Tina Radcliffe is a Romance Writers of America Honor Roll member and an American Christian Fiction Writers Honor Roll member. She is also a four-time nominee for the ACFW Carol Award and a three-time ACFW Mentor of the Year Finalist. In 2014 she won the ACFW Carol Award, and in 2018 she was an ACFW Mentor of the Year recipient. Besides her novel-length fiction for Love Inspired, Tina has sold over three dozen short stories to Woman’s World Magazine. A former registered nurse and library cataloger, Tina is a frequent workshop presenter. She currently resides in Arizona, where she writes fun, heartwarming romance.
Tina Radcliffe is offering a Reader Giveaway Pack to one of my readers! It includes a Kate Spade Canvas Book Tote and a $25 Amazon gift card! (Open to US/CAN. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.) This giveaway is subject to Reading Is My SuperPower’s giveaway policies which can be found here. Enter via the Rafflecopter form below. Ends July 20th at 11:59pm Eastern.
What about you? Check out Tina’s questions above & leave a comment below (don’t forget to claim the entry on the Rafflecopter!)