Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Tuesday's Tiny Talkers

Okay, maybe that's a totally lame blog title, but I decided this is the week where the name of the day will be each blog post. Why, you ask?

I have no idea. Just because I decided.

So yesterday I mentioned I'm rewatching Gilmore Girls. The Complete Series. The husband gave the boxed set to me as a gift a couple Christmases ago. I watched the whole thing a couple times through after I received the gift, but a friend borrowed the set this past year and I just got it back. After about 11 months. So yeah, I missed my GGs.

Lorelei and Rory aside, there are some fantastic supporting characters on the show. The loud, sort of obnoxious, but endearingly caring Babette: the next door neighborly gossip. Taylor - the really obnoxious, condescending town magistrate/selectman/mayor guy who is always out for himself. Mrs. Kim, Rory's best friend's mother, owner of an antique shop and psychotically strict. These people do so much with such a tiny part, you know their personalities, how they will react, who they are.

I recently read a book that had the potential to give the supporting characters personality, but it didn't. And I was really disappointed because of it. Although the MCs were pretty well developed, the world didn't seem real to me when the supporting characters, who interact with the MC(s) constantly, are flat, generic and have no personality.

As hard as it is to make sure the characters in your work are real, have you spent the time needed to make sure the Tiny Talkers in the background, the quirky math teacher, the brainy student body president, the loud and nosy neighbor, are just as real?

Just something I've been thinking about. Have you considered it?

7 comments:

Dominique said...

You have a good point. The minor characters need to be as developed as the others. I know that's something I need to work on in my WIP.

Nisa said...

I completely agree. Every character has to be important, there for a reason, and definitely alive, which really just means round. That's how GG is and it's fascinating. You're so right. Every character has character in some fashion or another. It makes the whole series very likable and dynamic.

Stephanie L. McGee said...

I'm having the opposite problem. I've spent too much time on the secondaries and not enough on the mains.

L.T. Elliot said...

This is a weakness for me. I need to get better at developing minor characters. Thanks for the advice. =]

WindyA said...

Just what I've been thinking about, great to hear that you guys are taking a look at it.

Dominique & LT - I definitely think it makes a story more dynamic and real if you can get your secondary characters to matter too.

Stephanie - hmm, could it be because you have an ensemble cast instead of MCs and secondaries? Less like Gilmore Girls, more like Glee?

Nisa - Gilmore Girls. They are just a couple of my heroes. LOL!

Angie said...

That's so true. Just look at Charles Dickens. Even the most minor of characters jump right of the page and live. I try to do that, but I'm no Dickens. Still, I was pleased when I asked people who their favorite character in my novel was, and got a wide and varied list of answers. That was nice.

Stephanie L. McGee said...

Perhaps so...we'll see what happens in revisions. And in the next novel.