I’ve never been a big fan of sports on TV. I just can’t seem to stay focused. Of course, I do enjoy oogling the linemen and their snug-fitting britches. Wowza! Definitely a diet friendly slab of beef-steak! J
As much as I like “taking in the sights” of the Super Bowl, I typically pay more attention to the commercials. Hey, we’re a “here we are now, entertain us!” kind of nation. Be it Cindy Crawford in cut-offs at a soda machine, mono-syllable frogs, or a granny asking for her beef, we tune in and expect to laugh, smile, and maybe cry.
How does this apply to writing?
I’m so glad you asked!
Using our superior imaginations, *POOF!* the super manly Super Bowl is now a romance novel! The Saints and the Colts are the main characters. (I’ll let your team preference decide who the H/H are. *winkwink*) GMC? Duh! T-D, we want a touch down!
Secondary characters? Why, the COMMERCIALS, of course!
Think about it. The battle of wills between the opposing teams is what draws us to the lazy boy, but it’s the commercials that keep us entertained and engrossed during the downtime. The Super Bowl would not THE SUPER BOWL without the commercials! It’s like bread and butter, baby! They just go together!
Same goes for a novel. It’s the secondary characters that provide things like comic relief and additional tension to a story.
Take for example, Gone With The Wind. The tempestuous Miss O’Hara would have been completely irredeemable without the gentle guidance and influence of Melanie Wilks. Genuine and selfless, Melanie’s character was the antithesis of Scarlett. Ms. Mitchell knew what she was doing. How many times did the devilish Mr. Butler use Miss Melanie to taunt Scarlett? Too many to count and each time he did- chaos ensued. A perfect point of contention to wiggle between the two main characters . . . and Melanie didn’t have to do anything in particular. She just had to BE Melanie!
Or what about Pride and Prejudiced? Would Ms. Austen’s tale be as intriguing and as legendary without the conflict Mr. Wickham, Lydia Bennet, Caroline Bingly, and Lousia Hurst added? Where would the all the pride and prejudice have stemmed from?
For all the Kenyon fans out there, would the Dark Hunter books be as magical without the character of Acheron? He is in every DH book, but never as the “main character”- not until he gets his own leading man role, almost thirteen books into the series!
We need these secondary characters to act as both buffers and catalysts to round out the edges our larger-than-life heroes and heroines leave behind. For all the non-Super Bowl watchers who are stuck watching the game (like me!), the commercials make the experience. A football game is just a bunch of men whacking the crap out of each for want of a stuffed lemon-shaped ball, but with hilarious and dazzling 30second bits of relief, the day doesn’t seem so tedious. Just like a book can have a pair of unlikely lovers duking it out, but they need something or someone to either drive them apart or meld ‘em together.
The moral of this story? Even a football game can become a writing lesson! Imagine that!
So, tell me, what’s the oddest thing you’ve ever applied an element of writing to?
(ps- I owe a huge thank you to my mother-in-law for inspiring the concept of this post! )
Be sure to click on over to The Lovestruck Novice Feb. 10th to scope out the new series called, A NOVICE TO WATCH. Be the first to know some rising stars! The novice in question just happened to be a fellow newbie whose entry kicked my rear in the Southern Heat contest last year.