Tag Archives: cathytully.com

Writing Supporting Characters

Supporting characters can come in all shapes and sizes, as well as, a variety of forms depending on the genre one writes: think elf, sprite, monster, you get the jist : ) They can range from loving family members to enemies that want our hero/heroine dead or want to destroy everyone and everything in our character’s life. In order for a supporting character to have relevance in a story, that third character must have a significant impact on one or both of the hero/heroine or they must influence the rest of the story. Otherwise, they don’t belong in the story.

In romance, many stories contain a certain kind of third character. This character is almost like a third main character. This third character can be the cause of the story or the point around which the story revolves. This character can be a child, a parent or a grandparent. They can be a best friend or confidante. Whichever works best for the story : )

In my first book, ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE, I used the heroine’s Gram as my third party.  I made this quirky, sweet, senior the reason the heroine came to town in the first place. I gave my heroine a close/loving relationship with her Gram and created a grandparent reader’s would love to have for their own : )

I love using a third main character in my stories. Most times it’s a person, although I must admit in MARRYING MR. RIGHT, my third character is an adorable dog named Hugo. He may not be able to talk to my heroine, but his loving ways and deep insightful eyes give her all the support/guidance she requires : )

This third character usually acts as a buffer, or someone the main character can bounce things off of. Better yet, someone who is truthful/honest to the end and tells the hero/heroine what they need to hear even if they don’t want to hear it. After all, isn’t that what a good friend does in real life?

The difficult part of writing third character’s is that they often become too big for their own good.I know when I write a third character, I have to pull he/she back and remind myself who the story is really about: The hero/heroine. Third character’s can become larger than life and that’s fine, if one is writing women’s fiction, not romance. So, when I outline these third character’s I must decide how the actions/choices of the third character affect the actions/choices of the hero/heroine without letting them take it too far.

Noone said writing was easy : ) And my books would probably be written faster if I didn’t insert a third main character. But every time I finish another book, I find that these third characters mirror so many real people that it would have been a shame to not include them in my story : )

Have you ever written a third main character? Do you find it hard to keep them on track and not allow them to “break out”?  Do you have a certain way you keep them in line? I’d love to hear your comments.

Best,

Cathy Tully

Never Assume.

When I published my first book, a children’s non-fiction, titled, NEBRASKA, eight  years ago, I was tossed into the ‘deadline’ world clueless of the work involved and the time entailed. Needless to say, my family was less than happy, and I was tired, stressed, and instead of being excited when I handed the book in, I felt more like a burden had been lifted from my shoulders.

Instantly I questioned, what the heck was I doing? After all, I worked hard to write and sell that book. and I deserved to see it through to completion. I should have been fulfilled, excited and elated when I finished. So, I knew to maintain my sanity, I ‘d have to make some changes in my life if I wanted to be a successful, published author, and I had to make them fast.

I think it’s important to note that my husband and daughter’s are my biggest cheerleaders, my website designers, my promo gurus, if you will.  They are proud of what I do and often brag until they’re blue. . . but they’re also human. And being human, they were used to my being at their beck and call without my writing getting in the way, so in a sense, their negative reactions to my deadline schedule were my own fault, simply because I hadn’t prepared them.

So, I sat them down and explained how important meeting a deadline was and how I much I needed their help. Once I put it that way, they smiled and said they wanted me to succeed and they hadn’t understood how important my deadline or my daily writing schedule was to me. After all, I usually wrote while they were in school and stopped when they got home. This change in my schedule, and theirs,  had pulled the rug out from under them. They promised to pitch in around the house so I’d have more time to write.

Hence, my daughter’s began doing the laundry, keeping their rooms neat, and cleaning the bathroom they shared. My husband began dropping off his own dry cleaning and running the vacuum through the entire house once a week. As my girl’s have grown,  they’ve taken on more chores, and I am beyond grateful for all their help. To a layman this may not sound like much, but to those stay at home mom’s out there doing their best to keep all the balls happily in the air, you know any help is good help.

And, no, these changes didn’t happen overnight, but the point is they did happen. And please don’t tell me talking to your kids  won’t work for you because you have sons, because, let me tell you, I have a friend with three boys and they do a better job of cleaning than some women I know : )

As my daughters mature, so does their understanding of what it is I do. They share in my happiness when a sale occurs, and feel the sting when I receive another rejection.  In my heart I believe their increased support and pitching in all took place because I sat them down and gently, yet firmly, told them years ago that ‘this is the way it has to be’.

Children never cease to surprise me. They adapt fast; they can bend to new situations when they’re asked to, and they come out shining and proud of what they’ve done in the end.

The important thing to remember is, a child won’t change merely because he/she can: you, my friend, must first ask them to.

Best,

Cathy Tully