Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Secondary Characters Bloghop

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So, let me tell you a little bit about the character I'm highlighting from my book, A Change of Plans. His name is Jori (that's pronounced Yo-ree) Virtanen . He's a 24-year-old model, originally from Finland, who hates his job and dreams of being an artist. He's been through some tough times in his adolescence--things that continue to haunt him into adulthood. His friendships with the main character and her love interest change his life.

He wasn't in the first draft of the book. I created him to help with a plot line I thought wasn't quite working. After input from my critique group, I realized he didn't fulfill his intended purpose. I considered writing him out again.

Essentially, killing him.

Refusing to allow him to exist.

I couldn't do it.

The little stinker had weaseled his way into my heart. In fact, he's the main character in the sequel I wrote for NaNo last year. A Change of Plans used to have an epilogue, but once I realized Jori needed to have his story told, too, I removed it. It gave away too much about what happens to him.

Here's my main character's first introduction to Jori. It begins on a ship, docked in Seattle, preparing to embark on a 28-day cruise to New Zealand.

... I sighed, standing in the warmth of the sunlight and imagining running on the treadmill with nothing but the ocean before me. 

“Nice, yes?” asked a deep voice behind me.

I spun around and couldn't help a soft gasp. Before me stood the most beautiful human being I had ever seen. A little taller than me and probably close to my age, he must have been a direct descendant of some Scandinavian god with his pale blond hair and light gray eyes. 

He raised his hands. “I didn't mean to startle you.” His voice had a hint of an accent I couldn't place. “My name is Jori. Jori Virtanen.”

“Nice to meet you. I’m Lyn North.” I shook the hand he extended. Like the other guy, Jori also wore nice cologne, subtle and masculine. “Where are you from?”


I blinked. “Seattle? Your accent ….”

“My parents and I emigrated from Finland about nine years ago.” Jori’s smile made him even more beautiful. He glanced at the wall of windows and said, almost to himself, “It will be interesting to do some sketching in here.”

“Are you an artist?” 

He hesitated, his shoulders shifting a bit as though uncomfortable. “I hope to be someday.”

Curious. In my experience, beautiful people had a tendency to be self-absorbed. “Are you going to sketch the scenery in New Zealand?”

Jori nodded. “I do plan to do some drawing there.”

“Wouldn't it be faster to fly?” 

“I prefer to sketch people. What better place than a cruise ship for people?”

Remembering why I had come to the gym, I asked, “Have you seen any of the staff around?”

Jori’s eyes did a quick scan from my head to my feet, and my jaw tightened. “Are you interested in some of the classes?”

"I want to see if it’s okay to use that open area by the door.” I indicated the location, taking a step toward the exit.

He arched a brow. “Are you a dancer?”

"No, I want it for karate practice.” At that moment, a staff member entered the gym. “Well, it was nice meeting you.” I raised my hand in farewell. “I need to go talk with him and then meet my friend.”

Jori glanced at my left hand. “Your boyfriend?” 

“No.” I edged away. “Just a friend.”

“Are you going to the departure party?” he asked before I managed to leave.

“Uh, yes. For a little while.”

His pale eyes glittered. “Then I will look for you.” He did a little bow and left.

With a frown, I watched him leave. That incredible specimen of male perfection couldn't have just been coming on to me. No way was I telling Elle about the encounter. 

Here are some others who are participating:
1.Queendsheena2.Donna K. Weaver
3.Trisha @ WORDSTUFF4.Entertaining Interests
5.melanie schulz6.Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh
7.Bird's Nest8.Julie Daines
9.And Then She Was Like Blah Blah Blah10.Elizabeth Seckman
11.Kimberly Gabriel12.My Baffling Brain
13.J. A. Bennett, A Writer's Journey14.prerna pickett
15.Spunk on a Stick's Tips16.Ashley Nixon
17.Livia Peterson - Leave it to Livia18.Swagger Writers
19.Sydney Aaliyah Michelle20.Father Dragon Writes
21.tangent shell22.Tyrean's Writing Spot
23.Jaycee DeLorenzo24.Cortney Pearson
25.Carrie-Anne's Magick Theatre26.Going off Dreams: the journey
27.Writer's Block28.Emily R. King
29.Kelley Lynn30.Emily Unraveled
31.My Inner Fairy32.Suzi @ Literary Engineer
33.For Science!34.Jenny S. Morris
35.The Flyleaf Review36.Jessica Salyer
37.The Desk of Laura Stephenson38.Julie Sondra Decker
39.PepperWords (M Pepper Langlinais)40.Thardrandian Thoughts
41.Leigh Covington42.Tobi Summers - Chock Full of Words
43.Elizabeth Hein44.Theresa Paolo
45.Cassie Mae 

Have you ever had a character steal the show?


  1. lol, yeah, don't you just hate it when a character refuses to die? ;)

  2. You were smart to keep him around. Characters who transform are among the best to create and nurture.

  3. You couldn't kill him off!
    Haven't written a book focused on a secondary character, but I do have a favorite from my own. Maybe two.

  4. I love secondary characters, especially women who are in counterpart with my heroine..:). I like to make them sharp tongued and resourceful :).

  5. I love the sassy cat. Writing a different story about Jori was good idea.

  6. Jori sounds so interesting, just from the description of him. Glad you didn't kill him off.

  7. When I started writing my first book, my first person narrator was supposed to be a secondary actor, like Nick Carraway in Gatsby. Then he did something and the story became about him.

  8. Ohh, why doesn't she want to tell Elle? Would she try steal him away?

  9. Great introduction to a secondary character. Although I really liked him as the MC in his own story.

    Similar experience to Jeff. I started out with a secondary character - love interest - who stole the show and became the MC, and he is such an unassuming kind of guy.

  10. Lynda, I'm glad now.

    Sheena-kay, and Jori had so much growing to do.

    Alex, hey! I'd love to know who your favorite characters are from your books.

    unikorna, yeah. I'm a fan of strong women, too.

    scribbling, it was so fun to write Jori's story. He's so richly flawed.

    Natalie, me too.

    Jeff, totally hijacked the book, huh? I love when that happens, though I've known authors who refused to allow it. Since it's really our muse taking control, I'm good with it.

    Suzi, Elle is Lyn's best friend and on the cruise with her. Elle's the type to play matchmaker.

    Far Away, good for you in letting him step forward.

  11. Yeah. Some characters are hard to bump off. I'm discovering this as I write Killer Stilettos.

    Hugs and chocolate,

  12. He sounds interesting! I have yet to kill off a secondary character. I did make one disappear though...
    My Blog

  13. Ooh, he sounds really interesting! Thanks for sharing!

  14. I'm going with Sheena-Kay. At first, I was hoping Jori would take a flying leap. But by the end of the book I saw a real person inside him. :)

    (Can't say more until your tour!)

  15. They become so fun to give a run that yeah, they just can't die.

  16. Shelly, and yet I did bump some off.

    Summer, ah, yes. Disappearing characters. That's good as long as you didn't just forget them, right?

    SA, yes, I've heard that comment about Jori from others. And there's so much more going on inside him than anyone sees. At the beginning of A Change of Plans, Jori is no girl's happily ever after. It's been fun to write his story because he's such a mess!

    Pat, and I wouldn't have had such a fun time writing Jori's tale.

    Mike, interesting at the very least. Very broken.

  17. I do become REALLY attached to some of my secondary characters. Sometimes they are the most fun. To write and to read about.

  18. I have a character like that . . .not a love interest but still . . . the kind that just keeps sticking around, and not leaving the picture.
    Great post!

  19. Maybe Jori can sketch me later. LOL. He's sounds fabulous.

  20. Isn't it funny how our characters become so real that the idea of getting rid of them really does feel like murder!

  21. those stubborn characters! I have those too--characters who have a minor role but suddenly manage to worm their way to center stage!

  22. great scene! a handsome character with personality & charm increases his attraction ten fold!

    glad you kept him around, wouldnt want to kick him out of the book! wink!

  23. Lucky you decided to spare Jori... he sounds like a great character!

    Writer In Transit

  24. I love a good, deep secondary character! Thanks for sharing about Jori, Donna!

  25. Gotta be a winning character if you can't kill him off!

  26. I love it when they're so snarky they refuse to leave :)

  27. Considering half my family lives in Finland, I'd say I captured his accent in my head perfectly. :D

    Okay, I'm sold on the book. It's not often that I read books with characters from my beloved country.

  28. Love characters that won't go away! There's always a reason! And he sounds like my type of guy :)

  29. Sometimes secondary characters demand their own books and stories too!


  30. I like the Scandinavian. Nice. ;D Yes, I've definitely had a character steal my heart and the story!

  31. I love Jori. So glad you didn't kill him--even if he ended up with a different role than you'd first planned.

  32. I'm in love with him, too, and I'm so glad you didn't scrap him and are going to tell his story. :)

  33. This is a really nice post! I hate it whenever I get so attached to a character that I actually cry whenever they're killed off.

  34. Mighty fine excerpt! I love it when side characters take on lives of their own.
    In Medias Res


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