Friday, March 9, 2012

Guestpost on Secondary Characters by Maggie O’Malley


Cat Watson managed to escape from the powerful drug lord Alvarez and right into the hands of the notorious killer—Rabid Rio. Rio promises to protect her and her baby if she becomes his mistress. With no money, what choice did she have?

Rio Wolff has found his mate, and she’s carrying another man’s child, not that it makes a difference to a werewolf. Cat’s running from the bastard, and only he can save her. It would help if she’d stop trying to run away every time he turns his back.

Creed Wolff gazes at the beauty standing in his kitchen and wonders why Rio has broken the rule never to bring a female home. She’s Creed’s mate so he can forgive his brother. Now he needs to replace Rio’s scent with his.

Cat can’t believe she lets both brothers pleasure her. Finally, she’s found a place where she feels safe, protected, and loved. But her world crashes when she finds out they have sold her to Alvarez.

Publisher's Note: This book contains explicit sexual content, graphic language, and situations that some readers may find objectionable: Ménage (m/f/m), anal play/intercourse, sex with toys, and spanking.

Secondary Characters by Maggie O'Malley

In most stories, there are main characters, minor secondary characters, and major secondary characters. Main characters are my heroes (two in Claiming Their Cat) and the heroine. The story is all about the conflict and conflict resolution for these three. The villain is also a main character since he’s the reason for the external conflict.

Minor secondary characters are people such as a doorman, a taxi driver, a clerk, or a waiter. The purpose of these people is to make the story believable as the main characters go about their normal lives. In Claiming Their Cat, I have a steak house owner, a valet, a receptionist, and a hairdresser just to mention a few. These people have small speaking parts that mimic life.

Most of the time, I don’t even bother to give them people names, but I use what I call profile names that are really just adjectives to describe the person. Their real names aren’t important because they only appear for a short period. Like No-neck for a man whose head sits directly on his shoulders; Bikerboobs for a well-endowed biker chick; Miss Nosey for the neighbor who has nothing better to do than poke her nose into other people’s business. Bruiser could be the bouncer at a bar. In Claiming Their Cat, Cat referred to Deac’s previous lover as Mad Margaret because of Margaret’s insane attitude.

Animals make great minor secondary characters, too. They don’t speak, but their antics and interaction with the major players adds a touch of reality.

The purpose of major secondary characters is to move the story forward to those blessed words—The End. They influence or are influenced by the major players. Major secondary characters have more interaction with the major players but should never upstage the major characters. They have personalities that must be explained. In Claiming There Cat, Fred is the restaurant owner in the first chapter. He’s an old werewolf, ex-military, and Rio’s best friend. His interaction with Rio and Cat lasts for three chapters. Oh yeah, he makes the best pot of coffee in the world according to Rio.
Another major secondary character is Rio and Creed’s grandmother who’s a seer. She knew that Rio and Creed were both mates to Cat, and warned them not to make rash decisions. Then we have Lucy and Draco. Lucy is the doctor who helped patch up Cat. Draco is Rio’s friend, and Rio sends Draco to Lucy’s house on a mission.

Major secondary characters sometimes become the hero or heroine of the sequel. They’ve been introduced, and readers want to know their story. I can’t count the number of emails I’ve received where people want to know when a major secondary character, such as Lucy and Draco, will get their own story. This means the reader cares about the major secondary character, a distinguishing factor compared to the minor secondary character. The names I choose for my major secondary characters are important because they may get their own book. By the way, I’ve never had anyone ask for a sequel with a minor secondary character.

Obviously, if my hero and heroine are stuck on a deserted island, or lost in the desert, or snowbound in the artic, and the whole story is in this setting, then secondary characters aren’t necessary unless these secondary characters appear in dreams or flashbacks. What person hasn’t had their mother or father’s words invade their thoughts? That’s because we’re all a product of our experiences just like characters are.

I’m Maggie O’Malley, and I’m so glad to be here today. Do you have any nifty minor character names?


Thanks Maggie for this wonderful guestpost! I never knew that those waiters, taxi drivers, people walking down the streets and everything had a label. Thanks for this. And keep writing those wonderful stories. I can't wait to read yours. 



  1. Great post Maggie! Sometimes secondary chars are great later reads. Love your cover btw

  2. Thanks for stopping by Anya. A lot of my secodary characters turn out to be the humorou one in the crowd.

  3. Great post. Lol, I think I sometimes make my secondary characters too interesting when compared to the current hero and heroine. People want the secondary characters' romance. But I guess that's not always a bad thing.

  4. Great post. Secondary characters are great for potential. Like you mentioned, many times people are looking for them to have their own story. To me, this just means you've done your job in pulling the reader into the story enough that they crave more about this world.

  5. Lisa,
    I think that's a good thing. You have the foundation for your second story.

  6. Nice post, Maggie. You do have some very colorful secondary characters in this story.

  7. You gave a very insightful short lesson on secondary characters. Well done!

  8. Maggie, Thank you once again for this wonderful guestpost! Everyone loves it. <3

  9. Great post Maggie. Makes me re-think my secondary characters.

    Marika Weber


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