I can see how it can happen. As my characters go about their lives, they have connections to other people: friends and relatives. This happened when I was preparing the main character’s wedding scene. It had been on my mind for a few days, and as tends to happen when I’m walking around doing my errands or I’m working out, something occurred to me.
It felt like the main character was calling me out, taking me to task: “Miz Writer Lady, if you want my boys to show up and be groomsmen at my wedding, it won’t happen ‘just like that.’ I have to talk to them about it beforehand, the same way you had my lady talk to her girls about being her bridesmaids.”
He was right. I included a scene in where the female lead interacted with her friends. Why not have one for him? Suddenly, I needed to fine tune some descriptions of a character or fine tune a scene because there were some other people around who might make things more colorful or interesting. In addition, I could see these secondary characters in their own scenes and stories. I got an inkling of their personalities, the things that interest them, what their lives might be like. Some secondary characters are more forceful at others in making themselves known. They will likely be the ones to get their book first.
They will tackle their own relationship questions and matters. The next characters will address ethnicity and not necessarily race. So as I mentioned, the male lead has several friends who were his groomsmen at his wedding to the female lead. They will be partnered with a number of her friends and relatives who were bridesmaids. One is a light skinned Latino man, she will be a darker toned Latino woman. Another character is an African American man from the South. His partner will be an Afro-Caribbean woman born in the U.S. but raised overseas. The bride’s sister is one of the bridesmaids; she is partnered with one of the groomsmen, but she is only 16 and is thus a bit too young right now. We will have to wait and see regarding her story.
I thought the Latino man’s story was going to be easier to write. He just seemed to be the biggest extrovert in telling me who he is, what he does for a living, and what he is like when he is on the prowl. But after that, there was nothing. Doing my research, I didn’t have a clue of where he wanted to go in the future, what were his hopes and aspirations? Nothing yet. But the African American man, he was very nebulous in the beginning. I had a sense of his personality, extraverted in a large group of pals, but quiet, similar to the main character. I had a basic idea of where he lived and what he did for a living. I knew how he was going to meet up with his female counterpart once the wedding was over. But after that, nothing. After doing more research, I had a firmer idea. He is in a different field now, and he has more concrete plans for his future.
Yet, just the other day, I saw a picture of Hannah Bronfman, daughter of the Bronfman family elite, owners of Seagram’s. Then I saw a picture of her fiancé and looked at a few interviews they had. I was fascinated. They became the model for one of the couples I have in mind, the younger sister of the female lead in the first novel. So now that is what is on my mind, I’m jotting down notes and saving pinterest images. Now that the first book is in the editing process, I can begin to write her story.
I carry my e-reader with me all the time and I have scrap paper in my bag. I jot down ideas all the time or work them through as I exercise in the morning, into a notes file I keep on the e-reader or onto the scrap paper I carry.
Copyright Barbara James. All rights reserved.