Friday, January 06, 2012

Best supporting characters

One of the new shows I've started watching is Suburgatory. I love that the humour is dry and the main narrator is a snarky teenage girl, a fish out of water type and that her single Dad is drool worthy, but what I love most about the show is the Cheryl Hines character, Dallas.

At first glance she is the typical rich, suburban housewife. Enhanced, clueless and a little batty, but Hines brings such a sweet vulnerability to everything, a real sense that she only wants to be a help to those around her and I'm not sure if the character was written as such, or if Hines brought it to the screen, but she is utterly compelling.

A character that could so easily have been cliche is the best surprise about the show. When Hines fell for the single Dad, with just an expression, we could see her hope, her heartbreak and even a hint of pride, all without dialogue.

I know in the past I've wasted my supporting characters, I haven't thought enough about them, gifted them with surprise elements or taken them past just being support to the main characters or possible heros and heroine's in future books, but going forward, I'm going to try and pull a Suburgatory. Because we should all have a Cheryl Hines in our books, or at least try to.

And I finally got my replacement kindle. So excited about the reading ahead of me. The first is Cecilia Grant.


Molly O'Keefe said...

I WAS JUST THINKING ABOUT THIS!!! Writing straight up contemporary romance and not wanting to add a mystery or suspense element, I realized my key to any longetivity has to be my supporting characters - and giving them a big enough subplot that doesn't distract, but adds to the main plot.

You have the flu? SUUUUUCKS.

That Grant book and then Joanna Bourne's newest - that's some happy reading...

Eileen said...

I think I have the opposite problem. My secondary characters are constantly trying to take over the book. It's so much more fun to create them because they can be so much more flawed and quirky. I tried to write one book where what probably should have been the secondary characters were the primary ones, though, and my editor HATED it. The hero was too much of a horn dog. The heroine was too damaged.

You know, maybe I'll revisit that one . . . I could e-pub it!

Anonymous said...

Looking forward to both books, Molly. And Eileen, romance readers are picky about their heroes and heroines, but not as much about the secondary characters.

there is more room for flawed, even unlikeable.

Eileen said...

And way more fun.

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