Posted On November 16, 2016 by Print This Post

Secondary Characters in Romance – Yay or Nay by Summerita Rhayne

hcd-cover Romance readers are often very selective about the kind of romance they read. To an outsider romance fiction is one genre, but just ask one of us! A reader of historical fiction may not think paranormal is the new black. Someone who loves fantasy might draw the line at office skirmishes. Even the tropes are marked as favorites. Some of us love secret baby stories, while others can’t resist a suave business tycoon. If there are a hundred tropes, there are about a million ways of carrying out those tropes. A romance author has to keep within the lines of reader tastes, yet be creative within those limits.

So it is the case with the secondary characters. While in mainstream romances, the core story revolves around the world of the hero and the heroine, what about the friend who puts in a word of advice in the heroine’s ear? Or the hero’s cousin who asks him to clean up his act? Sometimes, we develop a soft spot for these characters. We might even, if they are the right fit, like to see them in a story of their own.

If you are a romance author, you know that secondary characters are tricky at best. Maybe fun to develop – or not! – but quite difficult to juggle especially if they become realistic. They tend to steal the show. Even if they don’t, some readers are absolutely put off if the spotlight moves even a little away from the main couple. So, what are the haves and have nots of secondary characters in romances?

Use them like spices and condiments: Yes, secondary characters are like chillies. They add zing to your story dish, but everyone isn’t crazy about hot. Best to use them sparingly. In my story, His Christmas Delight, the heroine’s friend Tonya is the secondary character who will come into her own in the next book of the series, His Christmas Surprise. But in the first book, she doesn’t even share a single scene with Dan who is the hero in her story. Don’t twist your story just to bring the secondary character into focus. Yes, they are in the next book and might merit an extensive introduction, but it won’t be at the cost of derailing the present story.

Enjoy them like garnishing: They are like the flowers in your salad. Use them to enhance your story. They can add charisma, cuteness or comic with their presence. In Second Chance At Forever, the heroine’s triplets add fun and sweetness to an otherwise serious and conflicted story. I really enjoyed writing them in. At the same time, they added conflict to the story. So, don’t have wooden or stereotyped secondary characters. If it’s your main character’s friend, he or she could be the complete opposite of her. This can make your reader understand your character more fully.

scafMake them the dollop of cream and the fruit in the trifle: You can use secondary characters to add layers to your story. Add them in a subplot that relives the monotony of your story if the pace becomes slow. Like the fruit and cream, they add variety to your book and give that extra zing to your reader’s reading palate. In my historical fiction, The Eligible Princess, the lady minister, who is the heroine’s close confidante, has her own troubled romance with the hero’s minister. It adds interest to the main story as the hero’s minister is a believer of the old concept of distrusting women. His distrust even affects the main romance in the book.

In short, keep secondary characters relevant to the story and use them to enhance the story you are writing. Don’t get carried away or begin to develop them into full-fledged characters. But definitely employ them to underscore the message in your book.

Do you like to read or write about secondary characters in your books? In thrillers, they are a must. Especially the characters who turn from friend to foe in a well-timed twist. They can push the story forward in unpredictable ways. But what about the romance readers and authors? How do you manage secondary characters? Do you love to read sequels involving secondary characters? How much space should the secondary story be given in the first book? I believe the set up should be left to the sequel itself and the first book should not accord them any special treatment. Do share what you think.


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Bio: Summerita Rhayne writes contemporary and historical romance with lots of emotional conflict. She first got published in 2013 and has won contests with prestigious publishers such as Harlequin and Harper Collins India. Her pet belief is, if the inspiration is strong enough, the story characters will find a way to make the writer pen them down, even when writing time is in short supply. When cerebrally confronted with the sizzling interaction of two Alpha characters, the only way to get peace is write their book!

At heart, she’s a family person and even though she loves her medical teaching profession, she happily becomes a homemaker when not at work. She loves winding down with music, romcoms, cricket (strictly watching only) and social networking.

Author links:

Website: Find her books and contact at

Amazon author page: Follow her at:

Her newest book is already a best seller and featured in Amazon Hot New Releases.



What happens when the terrible twos come in threes?
Stuti loves being a mother to her triplets, but it can be a harrowing routine. She’s even more submerged in the craziness when she takes them and her mom-in-law for a trip to Rajasthan, the land of the erstwhile Thar desert royals and their palaces. After the passing away of her husband, she feels she owes it to her mil to take her to her favourite holiday. In the Amber Palace, her reckless toddler rushes onto a modelling shoot. As she picks up her daughter who has tripped over a gorgeous zardozi sari, her gaze clashes with that of the man she’d hoped never to set eyes on again in her life.

A passion that threatens to set fire to more than just her senses
Revath was everything she wanted in a man, but six years ago he chose to walk away from her. Now he wants to be back in her life. When she knows he doesn’t want the same things in life that she does, would she be wise to let anything rekindle between them? Is it already too late for rethinks?

Desire that has to be denied
Revath knew the moment he met Stuti again that he couldn’t just let her go. But Stuti is absolutely the wrong woman for him. It was proved six years ago when they chose diametrically opposite ways for themselves. He doesn’t believe in forever, so what’s he doing asking her for a second chance?
Can three little miracles be a barrier to two people finding love?

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7 Responses to “Secondary Characters in Romance – Yay or Nay by Summerita Rhayne”

  1. When I read, I love to see secondary characters. When used effectively, they can actually help reveal more about the main characters.

    When I write, I use them rather liberally. I don’t let them steal the show, but I use them to help advance the plot, and they frequently become main characters in subsequent novels.

    Great post topic, and thoroughly explored. Sharing on social media. 🙂

    Posted by Staci Troilo | November 16, 2016, 7:53 am
  2. YAY -I enjoy secondary characters. As a reader they can add to the setting. As a writer of fantasy series it is not uncommon for secondary characters to appear, go off-stage and reappear. Of course if they yell loud enough in my head they may even get their own story.

    Posted by Helen Henderson | November 16, 2016, 10:58 am
  3. Great post! I love secondary characters, sometimes too much. In one story I’ve been working on for years, the secondary characters hijacked the story. Instead of foreshadowing their own future story, I had so much fun writing about their antics that I lost focus on the core story. Still trying to fix that – I’ve bookmarked your post to help me with the edits. Thanks!

    Posted by Becke Martin Davis | November 16, 2016, 9:33 pm


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