Theresa Paolo, Kelley Lynn, Jessica Salyer, Jenny Morris and Suzi Retzlaff
are cohosting a fun bloghop about secondary characters to celebrate the release of their book of Secondary Characters on May 28th.
When I sat down to think about secondary characters, my mind immediately went to Charles Dickens. I read everything Dickens wrote in one fell swoop the summer of 1983. I don’t remember many details about the main characters in those books, but some of the secondary characters remain vivid in my mind.
Miss Havisham in Great Expectations is the personification of embitterment. She was left at the alter as a young woman, so she stopped all the clocks and lived the rest of her miserable life in her wedding gown. Rather than moving on with her life, she adopts a young girl and molds her into a hard, spiteful woman who can’t be touched by love.
Uriah Heep in David Copperfield – When I think about
a hypocrite, I think about Uriah Heep. He is a creepy young guy with long legs and spidery fingers that is always going on about how humble he is and faking appreciation of his employer. All while stabbing people in the back. Even though David Copperfield was written in the 1850’s, Uriah Heep is a character you could encounter today. He’s that waiter you don’t want touching your food or that greasy-haired check-out guy whose line you avoid.
Smike in Nicholas Nickleby still breaks my heart. He is a young mentally and physically disabled man that was abused his entire life. All we wanted in life was love and connection. As soon as he found love, he died. I still tear up when I think about him. I don’t remember what Nicholas Nickleby was about, but I certainly remember Smike.
I wonder if Charles Dickens enjoyed creating his secondary characters as I did when I was writing Overlook. My favorite is the main character’s hard drinking little sister, Rose McSweeney. She can be a bit larger-than-life because she doesn’t need to carry the whole plot.