I'm not prone to crying in public. In fact, I avoid it at all costs. I'm a very ugly crier and I tend to need tissues galore and it's just not a pretty sight.
However, I've spent hours sobbing at my keyboard as I type out various scenes for my books. And tonight my gut was punched by a very unsuspecting tertiary character. I had no intention of being a blubbering mess tonight. It's coming mind you. In about eight chapters I'm going to legit be sobbing for days and in fact, I might just pull an all-nighter to force myself through the three or so chapters of weeping.
If you haven't yet noticed, I connect with my characters. So much so that apparently I find myself crying at a tertiary character's heartache. (For those who don't know: there are three levels of characters in a novel. Primary, secondary, and tertiary. Tertiary characters are ones that, for the most part, are only around for bits and pieces of the story and their overall involvement is minimal. Sometimes they're only around for a few chapters and sometimes they're reoccurring but still very minor. In movies and TV, they're the characters with generic names like 'bodyguard #1' or 'shouting man').
Dickens is known for solid tertiary characters that might only be around for a page or two, but feel fully fleshed out and fully human. It's one of the things I admire about Dickens. Tolkien was similar, with tertiary characters that stuck to audiences and made them beg for more information about them. It's a very admirable thing to aim for, but quite difficult to achieve without bogging down the whole story.
I am, in absolutely no way, saying that I am on par with these giants of the literature world.
But it is something I shoot for and pray I'll be capable of pulling off. I sincerely hope that I get messages from readers asking for a background of some sort on Neri (pronounced 'nair-ee') or Taesir (pronounced 'tay-ee-seer). I hope for it because I've thought it through. I know who these two are. I've seen enough pieces of their stories to know (at the very least), why they act the way they do in the few short scenes they play pivotal roles in. They're both gems of characters that I enjoyed fleshing out, and in Neri's case. DANGIT NERI. I mean, I totally get his agony. He has every right to be feeling the things he's feeling. But dang son. I did not plan for you to sucker-punch me in the gut. I didn't even have my tissues ready and had to get up like eight times to blow my nose.
As stupid as it is, I do hope readers cry with my characters and can feel their sorrow when it comes. Because it will come. There are hard roads ahead of them. There are also some ridiculously happy roads ahead of them. Hopefully, on some level, they resonate with people. And whether it's a primary, secondary, or tertiary character that connects with a reader, I am grateful for them all.
All eighty of them (so far).