Friday, November 25, 2011

I Met this Guy in a Bar . . .

By Peg Brantley, Writer at Work, Stumbling Toward Publication

No name. Angry. Sitting alone. Handsome in a rugged kind of way. Pretty much of no long-term consequence to my story, so I sent a secondary character in after him.

Turns out he’s all kinds of strength. A complex guy with an incredible history. A really, really long name (so he goes by a three-letter nickname). More secrets than a politician.

And someone I couldn’t get out of my mind once I found him sitting there. Someone who threatened to take over the story I’m one-third of the way through. He’s a little like Jack Reacher, or Harry Bosche. Intriguing, scary and adorable. Oh yeah, and he’s got that ruggedly handsome thing going on.

This morning, another element to this man became apparent: there is a battle he must wage, and one that would not have come to me had I not attended a luncheon the other day to benefit the CU Depression Center. My deepest thanks and respect go to Marianne Franklin. If you want to learn more about the issues of youth suicide, check out the Shaka Franklin Foundation for Youth.

I can’t wait to finish the rough draft of the one I’m writing so I can edit the one I’ve written so I can edit the one I’m writing so I can write the next one. 

Which will belong to this guy I met in a bar.

Writers, have you ever had a major character come out of thin air? Readers, have you ever read a story that had a minor character in it you wished had a bigger role?


  1. Fun post! I had a minor character in my series I couldn't get out of my mind, so I kept writing bigger parts for her until I finally gave her a story of her own. Good luck with all your writing projects!

  2. I've had to go back and write more books featuring secondary characters who demanded more page time. My next release, a mystery, started out as a romantic suspense until the chief of police showed up and said, "This is MY story!"

    Terry's Place
    Romance with a Twist--of Mystery

  3. Fun post, Peg! Get that guy in a story! I'm sure you'll have a great time writing it! I can't wait to meet him! And your other characters, too - and read their stories. Hint, hint. :-)

  4. L.J., I thought of Lara Evans when this guy began to take over. I now know exactly what you experienced!

    Terry, I read you're in the process of revamping your website because this next one is so different than the books you've written. You go, girl!

    Jodie, I'm moving much slower than I would like toward the completion of this one, but it's feeling right, and for that I'm grateful.

  5. Yes, LJ did an awesome job of giving Lara Evans her own story in the futuristic The Arranger!

    Peg, if it's feeling right, just take your time. The results will be worth it!

  6. In a way I feel as though I channel my characters. I have no idea where they come from--they often just appear from nowhere. Then, I spend so much time inside their minds, they almost feel like a part of me. They resonate in a powerful way. I guess it's my process.

  7. I've read many minor characters that were more interesting than main characters. :)

  8. I totally get that channeling thing. That's pretty much where my characters usually come from. With only a couple of exceptions, I've known them inside out in a fairly short amount of time.

    This one was different. Dwarfed everyone else. He's a little formidable. Scary-big. At least to me.

    I feel a little like a girl going out on a first date . . . with one of the "bad" boys.

  9. Hey, Nissie . . . didn't mean to ignore you. Your comment came in while I was responding to Drew.

    If you read this, what are the elements of those minor characters that made you, Nissie, find them interesting?


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