One of my favorite things about writing is that you never know what’s going to happen. Even if you’re a writer who outlines everything in advance (I am not this type of writer, but I know some people are) you probably end up having deviations here and there as the writing progresses. The best laid plans tend to get muddled by the story itself. And if you’re a pantser like me, who just dives in the water with a vague idea of where the sunken treasure is, you end up with all sorts of things you didn’t realize you were digging for.
The background or side character who ends up wiggling their way into the spotlight is one of those things.
My personal adventure with this is the protagonist of my Siren Song series, June Coffin. She originally started out as a minor MALE character in the very first version of The Wicked City, which the final published book today is only very loosely based on. Then he/she became the main character in one of the twenty-thousand rewrites I did, and then he became she and now she is the main character of an entire series that’s all about her.
Talk about an attention hog!
Sometimes we don’t know the story. We start writing one story only to realize it’s someone else’s story, or that someone else in the background has a better story to tell than what we were originally trying for. These things happen. Characters are whiny children and they tend to get their way. I’ve learned it’s best just to listen to them instead of fight them, because they will sneak in and mess everything up for you if you try to ignore them.
How about you? Have you ever had a sneaky background character jump in front of the camera and take over?