When Secondary Characters Steal the Show

Have you ever been contentedly writing away only to notice that a secondary character is becoming more and more prominent and has finally taken over? One of the first and hardest questions to ask when that happens is, “Is my main character really the main character? Who is this story really about?” There are some excellent books which address this very question (I like Orson Scott Card’s Characters and Viewpoint).

Another question to ask is why is this character stealing the show? Is he more interesting? More entertaining? I think a secondary character who is a clown or bigger than life can occasionally steal the scene, but he shouldn’t steal the entire show.

As I’ve been writing, I’ve noticed that my secondary POV character seems to have a lot more prominence than my primary POV character. I started to feel disconcerted, but then I realized that maybe it’s okay. Maybe Part 1 is about primary POV’s motivational/emotional arch and Part 2 is about secondary POV’s motivational/emotional arch. Maybe that’s why I couldn’t find Part 2’s arch. I was looking for it in primary POV’s story when all along, it was in secondary POV’s story. Now I have a lens through which to revise my rough, rough, rough draft.

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