Compelling Minor Characters
Lily White, the protagonist of my WIP, lives in Detroit and works as a P.I. She used to have a very different life, in Blue Lake, my fictional tourist town on Lake Huron in northern Michigan. Lily started as a minor character in my first Blue Lake novel, Blue Heaven. Even in that book, she threatened to take the story over. She was a little brat, just 17 years old, a damaged runaway. The way I tamed Lily for that story was to tell her someday she’d have her own turn.
Then I forgot Lily until I began writing Love and Death in Blue Lake. Searching for a subplot, I thought, wouldn’t it be fun to bring Bob and Lily back after they’d graduated college? I wanted to see what would happen to them. I kind of figured they’d get their happy ending. Sometimes plots don’t go the way you plan, but I was pleased with the way Love and Death ended. It felt right somehow. Lily got into a whole lot of trouble, and she settled some old scores. When she rode out of Blue Lake leaving a broken-hearted Bob behind, I had no idea where she’d end up.
Sorry for the spoiler about Bob, but it is a very minor one. He gets his own story in my upcoming (November 2016) release Blue Lake Christmas.
Lily of course couldn’t let Bob have his own story without demanding a bigger, better one of her own. Well, to her it’s a bigger city, Detroit, and a better mystery, because she’s the one solving it. I’ll be working on Lily’s story for the next several months. If not years. Lily has layers and I’m taking my time uncovering them.
And yes, she’s already insisting that she should have her own series. I’m not sure about that, but what I do know for sure is compelling minor characters can take your stories further than you’d ever imagined.