In my last post I mentioned how the Huguenots made a surprise appearance. I thought I was writing about the Huguenots, but I discovered this was not so. I was writing about one of my secondary characters.
Back in August, in More!, we talked about secondary characters. Yet, the full implications of my post did not fully hit home for me until yesterday. I suppose it’s human nature to not realize I had something to learn until I learn it.
Anyway, yesterday, this secondary character had a moment when she decided to become leading lady. There was so much about this woman, my MC’s midwife, that came out. I thought I knew my midwife, or all I needed to know about her, yet here I was diving through her childhood and romances. I am always amazed at what the mind produces when I think its dormant- this is one of my favorite things about writing.
I was a little startled while writing, a little nervous, but I let it come: where was this going? Was she trying to take over? Then I realized, no. I had remained in my MCs POV. She was getting to know her midwife. She was shocked at how much there was in this woman who tended her, so much she had never seen, or even supposed. So, at the end of all this I had learned something crucial about my MC.
Now that I know this particular secondary character all that much better I find I have a new connection with this novel. There are more layers, more nuances, and it is oh so much more interesting! I am curious to see when re-drafting how much her character has developed from her initial introduction. Perhaps, it is not about getting to know my characters, but about giving them room to grow into themselves.