Hi all–happy Thursday! Can you believe July is almost over? Fall will be here before we know it. Today we’re talking about secondary characters in small towns. All small towns (in fictional stories–and maybe real ones, too!) have these characters. They take on different genders, characteristics and are as unique as each story, but sometimes the roles they play are quite similar. Let’s talk about a couple of them and decide which are our favorites!
The Matchmaker: So the matchmaker can be anyone. Grandma type, Grandpa type, best friends, parents, siblings. Honestly there’s no end to who could have this fabulous role. Maybe even the town hairdresser. Personally, I love the matchmaker. They’re unselfish, they care about others and most of all they believe in true love!
The Busybody: We tend to think of the busybody being a woman. Not sure why. But I guess that’s how it goes. This person always have to have their nose in everyone’s business. Normally, they aren’t trying to be helpful, just nosy. The busybody can cause tremendous trouble in our towns and that’s why we love her! How many messes would our hero and heroines miss out on if we didn’t have a busybody?
The Widow/Widower: These are the older folks that comfort people and are tremendously helpful in giving advice, (good advice) being mentors and just all around peacemakers. We want to see these people find their own true love. Sometimes it happens, sometimes it doesn’t. Regardless, they are the calm amidst the storms.
The Business Owner: Personally I love it when the business owners own coffee shops or sweet shops. Oh, and bookstores! These can be established people in the town, or newcomers who are trying to make their business work. Either way, they add a stability factor for our small towns.
The Best Friend: Whether male or female, we love our best friends. They give us someone to bounce idea off of, they comfort us, agree with us, help us to make hard decisions and are there when we need them. And best friends? Well, if they’re single, they make great heros or heroines for our next book in the series.
So what do you think? Do you see a favorite small town secondary character you love? I know there are more, but I thought I’d highlight these. This is one of my favorite parts of building small towns, but it’s also the part I struggle with the most, if I’m honest. I tend to be hero/heroine focused, so I have to make a conscious effort to make sure my small towns are well rounded. The people add so much, then if there is a series we get to see some of these characters more than once.
Who is your favorite character from the list above? Or, hey, it doesn’t have to be from the list if you have another one, we’d love to hear about them!
Mary Preston says
You missed out my favorite. The perfectly imperfect quirky natured character.
Mary—great one!! Thanks for addition, and visiting Inspy!
When I was growing up in both real life and books, somehow I was always partial to the bad boy who underneath had a good heart. Maybe it’s my age but where are all the professionals on your list like the doctor, the policeman, the minister and in larger small towns the lawyer, the fire chief, the mechanic….. Great post, really enjoyed it!
Dianne—I’m right there with you regarding the bad boys—stole my heart every time! I think I was viewing the profs being more on the hero/heroine side, but you’re right. These are great side characters and are important for every story-sometimes I need to think outside my own box. Thank you for visiting Inspy!
I like the widow/widower type which could also be the grandmotherly type. Mum was one of these people. We often had people come for their lunch hour and would sit at the kitchen table and eat lunch and chat. Often she would be in the kitchen baking or doing things while they chatted. Then later in life they would bring their lunch and sit in the lounge room chatting and often just lending an listening ear and offering a prayer or bible verse etc.
I like how in many books they are the ones who lend an ear to listen and only offer advise if asked. they don’t tell the hero/heroine what to do but will often help by example not telling.
Being Aussie I am looking forward to spring.
Ausjenny—Yes! I like how you brought out that they offer advice if asked–and how their silence is sometimes telling. Great points. Thanks for visiting Inspy!
I think these types of people are good at letting someone chat and while chatting about an issue you often come to a conclusion on your own without needing advice.
I know one of the people who often had lunch was a farm girl who worked in town but it was to far to go home for lunch and didn’t have the money to buy lunch each day so would bring her sandwich and come visit often several days a week. (Mum always had a cuppa ready and some treats on hand). I know Mum was one of the early ones to find out she was engaged and went to her wedding.
I see this sort of thing in Janet Tronstads Mrs Hargraves who was a Sunday school teacher and the grandma figure to so many. Always has home made treats and a cuppa and a listening ear.
kim hansen says
Hair dresser who knows almost everyone in the town and is the hub of gossip in her business.
Kim—Girl—we can tell our hairdressers all the things! (And pray they keep it to themselves, right?) And what heroine doesn’t want a great cut or style change in the midst of falling in love. Thank you for visiting Inspy!
Have a funny story. Today I was at the hair dresser and well we have a couple doctors leaving the main practice but their are a few rumors of whats happening. One was taking over from an older DR. Well My hair dresser knew what was happening. It shows that Hair dressers do a finger on the pulse of whats happening in a small town.
Hi Linda! Insightful post. In our small town, we are blessed to have two libraries within five miles. Local librarians that monitor book clubs, classes, children story hours and more. Also while this is a local business in a sense, it is seasonal. I enjoy Alex Veggies, our local farm stand. Alex is a fourth generation small farmer. He grows tasty veggies for Farm to Table restaurants and area food trucks (another small town business). Alex and Nate a local restaurant owner have their own herb blends and taco sauce. Our region also has lots of vineyards and wineries. Hollywood Farms also sells meat. Schuler farms sells milk and does tours. Happy writing and best wishes.
Renate!! These are awesome suggestions for secondary characters—in reading I was reminded of Valerie Comer’s books—:) My son has a small restaurant in Puerto Rico–and he works daily with local farmers—just like your scenario above. Thank you for visiting Inspy! Oh-and the libraries, too. Great!!
Regina Merrick says
My favorite is the “best friend.” I focused on this segment in my second book, and it was so much fun!! Now I’m thinking (having been in the past week) that my next book desperately needs a beauty shop!! Great post!
Regina—Go for it! Thank you for stopping by Inspy today. :)
I have to say, I like all of the ones you mentioned! I’ve seen all of them in books! One of my favorite series, Tales of the Grace Chapel Inn, had TWO busybodies!! Aunt Ethel and her beau, the Mayor. One or the other ALWAYS started something! I LOVE Charley in Irene Hannon’s Hope Harbor series. He doesn’t fit any of the molds, yet, he knows things that no one else does, things that people have never voiced to anyone else. Plus, he makes the best fish tacos!
Trudy—Thank you for those recommendations—and I love the fish taco aspect. That’s a cool thing to do too, give them something like that where they’re known for a specialty. Great idea. Thanks for visiting Inspy!
Julie Arduini says
I loved, loved, loved writing the small town characters in my Surrendering Time series. My favorite to write was the curmudgeon. He came off as moody, but he was a teddy bear who deeply loved the village and people.
As a reader, I love the best friend and busy-body. Always a fun read when these characters are included.
What a fun post!
Julie—I know a few curmudgeons—they are precious–they just don’t want anyone to know it. :)
Thanks for visiting Inspy!
I love small town stories, maybe because I live in a small town and love it! How about the nosy next door neighbor? Or the town veterinarian? Librarian? Grocery Store employee? There’s so many choices and people that make up small town life, I think!
Trixi–You are right. And I love the next door neighbor, too. That can be anybody you want them to be. :) Thank you for stopping by Inspy!
Lila Diller says
My favorite is always the best friend. I loosely based the best friend of the main character of my “Love is” series off my own best friend!
Lila—i love the best friend, too. :) Love those inspirational friends.
Best friends, yes, but better yet, discovered friends. Those people who we might not have a lot of contact with but who step up when the need is there. They have generous spirits, they just don’t always have the opportunity to show it. For characters in a book, when the hero or heroine is in the midst of conflict, a discovered friend, from any walk of life, is like a whisper of God’s presence. Hey, there, you’re not alone.
Lincoln—-What a great inspiration. :) I love that God’s whisper. Profound, my friend! Thanks for visiting inspy.
Alicia Haney says
The Best Friend is my favorite.
Alicia–good pick! Thanks for visiting Inspy.
Lelia (Lucy) Reynolds says
I like the quirky elderly lady that likes to play matchmaker.
Lucy—they are fun! And fun to write. Thanks for visiting Inspy.
love the best friend
Denise–the best friend seems to be a favorite. And hopefully, they’ll get their own story if they don’t already have one. Thanks for visiting Inspy.