By Cassandra Carr
I’m seeing more and more quirky secondary characters these days. And not just in books – they’re all over TV and movies too. So what do we think of quirky secondary characters? Not sure who I mean? I’m going to date myself here, but I’ll give you some examples from TV: Cliff from Cheers, or Rose from The Golden Girls. Both are quirky secondary characters. More modern examples are Howard from The Big Bang Theory and Sam from Burn Notice.
Do quirky characters make stories more interesting? Or do they distract from what you really want to see, which (I assume) is the main characters fighting their way through the world.
I don’t tend to use quirky characters. My stories are very much centered on my hero(es) and heroine, and their battle to overcome the various obstacles to achieve happiness. Sure, there are secondary characters, but most would be classified as “window characters” – characters who are in the story purely to give the main characters someone other than the other main characters to talk to. My secondary characters are best friends, co-workers, all the different things you might expect a quirky character to be, but they’re straight shooters. They keep the main characters focused on their objective and they help the main characters figure out what to do.
Am I missing the boat here? Should I make my secondary characters more quirky?