He-he… Okay, that was a naughty play on words, but sex isn’t the only thing that brings you that feeling of utter relaxation and mindless bliss. Sometimes, it’s just the release of all the stress and frantic running that grinds us down during the holidays, making the day after feel so….ahhhhhhhh. There’s no more rushing, the kids are content with their new gifts (for now), there’s no large feast to prepare and plenty of delicious leftovers to make you smile. I’m personally looking forward to a piece of the Dutch Apple Pie I was too full to attempt yesterday.
I’m also feeling pretty darn good about how much I’ve accomplished over the Winter Break so far. 34 Character Bios! That’s quite a bit, right? I’ve completed all of the bios for the book I’m working on, and have moved on to a few other books. What classifies a sub-character for other writers? I found myself wondering this, as I was filling out the fifteenth sub bio sheet and shaking my head over how little information I had on that particular character.
To me, there are “filler” characters (the teen waitress at the sandwich shop during a scene who has one or two lines) and then there are Sub-Characters. Filler characters are not getting a Bio Sheet, I’m not that meticulous – in fact, if you’ve been reading my posts this long, you already know that getting me to do any kind of character bio is like a Christmas miracle! In my humble opinion (stop laughing) Sub-characters play a more significant role in the story that can range from mildly involved/somewhat present to the Main Character’s constant companion/friend/sidekick. It’s no different than a movie with a full cast of sub-characters surrounding the Main people, and all of the “extras” roaming around to make everything feel more authentic.
Then there are the “absentee” characters. What in the hell is that, you ask? The absentee character is talked about, mentioned, suspected, given a characteristic rundown by all of the other characters in the book, yet will never make a personal appearance. I don’t know who else might do this, or why it happens to me, but it does. I have a very big “absentee” character in my book, The Zen Lounge, (because I had to cut out the only scene he was ever in just to make the word count limit for my publisher). It wasn’t until I was doing these character bios, that I realized I had done it again with a much smaller absentee in the book I’m working on. Is that common? Is it viewed as good or bad?
Authors & Readers: What are your opinions regarding absentee characters? What makes a character fall under your idea of Sub-characters vs Filler characters? Do you bother making bio sheets for characters outside of your main protagonist?