13.11: Writing Secondary Characters, with Charlaine Harris

Your Hosts: Brandon, Mary, Dan, and Howard, with special guest Charlaine Harris

Charlaine Harris joined us in front of a live audience at the GenCon Writers Symposium to talk with us about secondary characters—why they’re so important, why they can be difficult to write well, and how she brings her secondary characters to life without giving them a POV.


Take something you’ve already written. Make your protagonist a secondary character, and make a secondary character your protagonist. Tell a new story with them in those roles.

Grave Sight, by Charlaine Harris, narrated by Alyssa Bresnahan

4 thoughts on “13.11: Writing Secondary Characters, with Charlaine Harris”

  1. I also heard he hunted dogs! I thought “woah, they really changed him on the show…” xD

  2. I loved the idea of giving secondary characters their own (possibly unrelated) plotlines. I head that and it “clicked” for me.

    I also heard “hunting dogs” not “hunting-dogs”. Props to Dan for mentioning it. :)

  3. Huge thanks for this episode and the one on Quick characterization – I was treated to one of my own questions answered in a bunch of really helpful ways! (the how-to-do-it-without-POV – thanks so much for that, folks!) And about the secondary characters getting to be more interesting than the main – it’s a thing that keeps happening to me, it was good to hear others have struggled with it too!
    I’ll be off killing my darlings, then! xD

  4. Oho! Remember, there are no small parts, only small actors. And Charlaine Harris joins the original quartet, Brandon, Mary, Dan, and Howard, at GenCon to talk about how to make sure even secondary or side characters come to life in your writing! Balancing between flat flanderization and taking over the story, how to kill or at least reduce the interest of a character, making your secondary characters rich and vivid — read all about it in the transcript now in the archives or over here


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