Support is everything!

Hello everyone and welcome back to NaNoWriMo – or what we made of it!

Today, my friend and author Cora Blu is visiting me. She writes Interracial Romance and an Underwater Fantasy Series. I’ve read Dagger, the opining novel, and loved that shark-guy! 😉 Her newest release is The Man He’ll Never Be – book two in the Midnight Moanings Collection.

The topic she chose is supporting characters.

Welcome, Cora! I’m glad you’re here today.

 

Thank you very much, Piper! 🙂

Choosing a supporting cast for an interracial love story

This will depend greatly on the tone of the story and the visual you want the reader to take with them. Much like any other story, however there are things to watch out for.

First, let me say these are my opinions, not rules.

Interracial love stories aren’t necessarily about race. Yet if you are going to highlight the ethnicity of the character, it’s best if it serves a purpose to the overall story. Most people don’t walk around addressing each other by their ethnicity. However, they may joke about differences or habits prone to one ethnic group over another in conversation if that’s the level of their relationship. (Did I say ethnic enough?)

Be mindful of your supporting characters dialog and actions. Do not over stereotype your characters. If, let’s say, the hero is Caucasian. When he introduces his Black heroine to his mother, don’t pull her reaction from the 1930’s unless you’ve set the stage for that issue to surface. Which could also be a point that leads you to an underlying issue of a subplot? This could lead to dialog long overdue between him and his mother.

Keep the characters true to their scripts and allow the h/h to grow, evolve, solve the problems find the Hope Diamond— whatever. Give the reader subtle clues as to why your h/h’s personalities are the way they are, by showing the supporting personalities that helped to mold their lives.

You know when someone comes from a loving home by the way they treat others. Or you meet someone’s mother and the first thing you say is “I see where you get xxx from.”

Don’t create over the top, nagging characters to add spice and now they don’t support the type of h/h you’ve created or the reverse. You don’t allow them to interact.

Example:

You’ve chosen to make the heroines parent’s home, the go to place. Information central. You can hear people talking as you walk up the sidewalk. Yet when the hero comes over, there’s no one in the room because you’re uncertain as to how they should act.

They shouldn’t “act”, they should “react.”

Allow them to have dialog. React, however, their personalities direct them. They can throw in an odd look or a questioning stare. A minute of dead air. Pull the heroine into the next room to whisper and everyone can hear it. Because that’s how people who are expecting one thing and get another, react.

A few seconds… Not the entire scene.

Again, if the story is a racially motivated one, than the reactions will be more and longer, different.

Most families and friends have enough issues going on. Who you chose to date isn’t the issue… Not for too long, anyway.

Keep the issues relevant to what’s going on with the h/h to move the story along and make it interesting. The people in their lives should fit their circumstances.

People meet at work, at parties, on-line (the self-check-out at the grocery store seems to be the spot to hold a conversation)… Friendships develop, romances grow. Families are started.

Allow your supporting characters to have personalities that support the h/h you’ve created, and not a stereotype to catch a few laughs.

18 thoughts on “Support is everything!

  1. Thank you Piper for having me today. I think this is an important topic to remember when you’re making supporting characters. Remember they’re supporting not taking over.
    Would love to hear from your viewers.

    1. Sure. It was nice to have you here. Your post was very interesting. It was actually something I never really thought about, but will definitely do in the future.

      1. Thanks, Piper. I think it works no matter what you’re writing. Having the right personality mixes, makes it easier to find the correct character for “The Black Moment” The moment where your character has to make a choice and that person doesn’t allow them to wimp out on it.

  2. Really sloppy cultural stereotyping in sidekicks and supporting cast is a *huge* pet peeve of mine. Really tosses me from what would have been an otherwise escapist story. That’s not to say characters can’t have their own unique quirks and flavors, but you have to work even harder to craft those individuals that you would for the typical mainstream Jane or Joe. You can’t just make them up out of thin air. They need to be reality-based.

    I actually have a character in an upcoming release who is so over-the-top and country that I worry how people will react to her. She was an amalgamation of people I grew up around and went to church with. I know people like her who talk like her, love like her, and, okay, I’m related to people like her. So, that character gives me the warm-fuzzies, even if her antics do make me chuckle. My hope is that people know a Hattie, too, and that she’s relateable and not just funny.

    1. Thanks, Cynthia. You’re right. I think sometimes characters are more dramatic than they need to be and it relates to every sort of story.
      Thanks for stopping by.

  3. Holly I know exactly what you mean. I have two Madea’s, a Queen, a Nanna and two Ms. Cora’s. But they don’t belong in every story. That’s what pulls the reader, speaking personally, from the story. If they’re a part of what molded the h or h, put them in.
    Thanks for commenting.

  4. Loved your post, thanks for sharing. I’ve never dealt with interracial characters, yet. But I know I will in one of my future stories . Your information will really help. Thanks again. Lynda

  5. Thanks for stopping by, Roxy. i have a girlfriend named Roxy. Been wanting to use that name in a story.

  6. Thanks, Lynda. I have a secondary character that’s very honest with my heroine, but they’re cousins. Hopefully the reader can see their family resemblance and where she gets her strength from.
    Thanks, Lynda.

  7. A great blog, Cora 🙂 enjoyed it. I like writing heroines with a blend of ethnicity, out to cause trouble, especially the one in my current WIP.

    1. The right mix can set a story on fire. My heroine’s father is Irish and I had a ball writing their dialog.
      Thanks for the commments.

  8. Interesting blog, Cora. You make some very valid points and I concur wholeheartedly. The race of a character doesn’t matter to me, but characterization does. If a writer makes me feel an emotion and I understand the character’s motivation, I’m hooked.

  9. Thanks, Tamra. After a while you can usually figure out if the character is from a specific ethnic group, but you shouldn’t be told every time they walk in room. It’s distracting.
    Thanks for commenting.

  10. Thank you, Piper for hosting me today. I’ll hangout a bit longer if anyone has any questions. I loved the dialog earlier. 🙂

  11. Ha ha, hang out as long as you want, Cora. I’d serve you tea and cokkies…if I could 😉
    By the way, how is “The Man He’ll Never Be” doing? Did you get the piracy issue under control?

    1. I stopped it on that site, but I’ll never know where else it’s being handed out like tissue. It’s starting to recover slowly.
      Thanks again for today. I enjoyed talking to everyone.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s