Monday, September 29, 2014

Foursomes-Chosing the Right Partners

Foursomes-- If you follow me, you know I love a good euphemism or double entendre, but in this post, I'm talking about casting. Finding the right number of characters for your readers to care about.

Four seems to be a magic number. 

Here are some examples, from a romance writer's point of view:

Sexy in the City-We have Carrie, Samantha (my favorite), Charlotte, and Miranda. The main story line leans toward Carrie and Big finding their happily ever after, but if we didn't have the other three, the show would've been boring. We cared about all four women, their ups and their downs, and each played a vital role in the show with their own distinct personalities.

Big Bang Theory-We have Sheldon (my favorite), Leonard, Raj, and Howard. The main story line could also be the relationship between Leonard and Penny, but there is no show without Sheldon, Howard and Raj. All of these guys keep us in stiches and play so well off each other. I want to see Sheldon and Amy kiss, Howard and Bernadette finally have a baby, and Raj finally find his match.

Seinfeld-We have Jerry, George, Elaine and Kramer. Again, the main love story could be Jerry and Elaine, but without Kramer (my favorite) and George, the show would fall flat.

All of the above are wildly successful. I know this, and you know this.

My point?

When building your cast of characters, you may have "the Stars" of your show, but supporting characters are equally, if not vitally important.

In the examples above, each character has his/her own unique personality. That is also key. You can't have four characters that are all exactly alike. Each should have their own unique traits and flaws. They are there to challenge the others, to provide a fool to the straight man, and to give depth.

With a larger cast of characters, you give your readers a bigger pool of personalities to identify with. Too many characters, and you dilute the story, possibly confusing the reader. Too few, and you may lose a reader who can't identify with your hero/heroine.

There are many romance writers who know how to do this well. Melissa Foster, Patricia Eddy, Robyn Carr, Tami Lund and Rebekah Ganiere, to name a few. Each of these writers I've read, and each did an excellent job of introducing supporting characters that bring depth to the story and end up with their own books.

Look closely at your supporting characters. Give them a life, give them a story line, give them some depth and development.

The foursome could be your key to success.

By the way, I keep trying to convince my friend (photo above) to start her own shoe blog. I thought since I was mentioning Sex in the City, the photo would be appropriate.

Jennifer Senhaji

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