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Developing a Secondary Character Near the End (1 Viewer)

Taylor

Staff member
Global Moderator
I am writing my novel in third-person POV alternating three women. One of the women has a young adult daughter who lives in another country because she is going to university there. She never appears in this novel physically, but comes up in conversation. I introduced her because she will play a greater role in the sequel. I'm at the fourth to last chapter now (94% complete) and feel the urge to have her pay a visit to her mom. First off, would this be off-putting? And if not, would it be ok to introduce something now, that may be one of her challenges in the next book?

Any other advice is welcome.
 

KeganThompson

Staff member
Board Moderator
would it add anything to the story you are writing now or is it more for sequel purposes? How often is she mentioned in the book? Maybe it'd be more interesting to have her not introduced and have the reader get to know her through the sequel. She has been mentioned in the current project so it wouldn't be out of the blue. But it might depend on how big her role is
 

Taylor

Staff member
Global Moderator
would it add anything to the story you are writing now or is it more for sequel purposes? How often is she mentioned in the book? Maybe it'd be more interesting to have her not introduced and have the reader get to know her through the sequel. She has been mentioned in the current project so it wouldn't be out of the blue. But it might depend on how big her role is

Yeah, good questions. The visit wouldn't be necessary for the plot to come to a satisfying conclusion. But, the relationship between the mother and her daughter could be an interesting read. It's kind of how I have approached the whole book. Little vignettes of complex people's daily lives revealing the inner thoughts of the MCs and how they make decisions. So I would pants my way through it, and hopefully come up with an interesting scene.

So to answer your question, I would hope it served a purpose in both books. She is mentioned three times but serves as an important connection between her mother and father who are not married but run a hotel empire together.
 

SteveTheAviator

Senior Member
This may or may not work for you, but it comes to mind after reading your question on introducing the daughter. This can help with WHEN to introduce her.

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The above is what is called a "Story Clock." It's just a radial view of a traditional 4-act structure (the popular "3-act" structure is the same, just labeled different). The main benefit here is plotting a character's entrance and exit in your story. Really well-told stories show on the Story Clock that the point they enter is the mirror opposite of when they exit. So long as it is proportional along either the vertical or horizontal axis, you'll find that those are great positions to re-encounter the character. I'll use it to check my work.

So, for example for Batman Begins, Ras Al Ghoul enters a few pages into Act1 and exits a few pages before Act 4 ends. Scarecrow enters halfway into Act1 and exits Halfway into Act4.

Another example is the B-story character, who usually comes in just after Act2, and has a significant impact on the character just before the break into Act4.

LINK: These people came up with the concept and explain in more detail.
 

WasatchWind

Senior Member
I am writing my novel in third-person POV alternating three women. One of the women has a young adult daughter who lives in another country because she is going to university there. She never appears in this novel physically, but comes up in conversation. I introduced her because she will play a greater role in the sequel. I'm at the fourth to last chapter now (94% complete) and feel the urge to have her pay a visit to her mom. First off, would this be off-putting? And if not, would it be ok to introduce something now, that may be one of her challenges in the next book?

Any other advice is welcome.
It depends I'd say. The reason why people don't usually have characters appear as things are wrapping up is because it kind of interrupts tying up all the loose ends. So if you introduce the daughter, I'd say not to have it distract too much - focus more on the daughter and on her mom in the interaction. You might talk about some unresolved character thing with the daughter at the very end as a lead in to the sequel - just be careful that all of this doesn't distract from the satisfaction of the book wrapping up.
 

Lawless

Senior Member
I see nothing wrong with introducing a character late in a novel.

Especially when someone told about previously finally turns up physically, there's certainly nothing wrong with that.

What I hate as an avid reader is when the plot remains hanging in the air because the author wants me to buy the sequel. Then I feel betrayed.
 

Ajoy

Senior Member
I think if you can use it to enhance one of your character arcs, it would totally be worth it.
 

Taylor

Staff member
Global Moderator
Thanks, everyone for your great advice and support. It gave me the confidence to move forward. I was so worried that someone would say, "Don't you know it's a cardinal rule never to introduce a character near the end!" Lol!

I did write the daughter in. It was perfect, and as others suggested the encounter was more about her mother but brought enough of her character traits to hopefully dampen appetites for the next in the series. I also had her be briefly attracted to someone she shouldn't be...a bad boy type. She has been very coddled and raised in private boarding schools all her life. Hmmm. let's see where that goes in the sequel...
 
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