Secondary Overshadow: Are You Cheating On Your MC?

You know that feeling when you’re totally submerged in the WIP, you’re cramming the keyboard so fast the letters are smoking, and the book is writing itself? Of course you do. The characters tell you what they are and aren’t going to do, and it seems as though we’ve become a tool for a story that’s demanding to be written a certain way. 

This is GREAT! The flow improves, dialogue comes naturally, originality leaps from mind to page quicker than you’re ready for it, and the linear path of your plot becomes twisted, complex, and interesting. 

And flaws stand out. There’s no ignoring them at this point, even if you secretly knew of an issue but chose to deal with it later. NOW is later. I hear you grumbling. But, this is a good thing and you know it. 

One of the biggest, most frightening issues is when you start loving a secondary character more than the main character. GASP!

You feel dirty. Like you’ve just cheated on the MC. This isn’t supposed to happen, this wasn’t part of the plan! Ohhhhh, but you can’t ignore your feelings. After all, the secondary character feels more real. Why?

There’s a lot of pressure on the MC. There’s advice all over the Internet about how he (or she) must be deliciously flawed yet beautiful, have some legitimate inner turmoil that is grand but believable, and must have a personality that leaps from the page, standing out above millions of other main characters. Whoah. That’s a high bar. 

To me, the interesting main character is never the one without flaws. – J. J. Abrams

Unfortunately, what sometimes happens is our MC flounders under the pressure and becomes forced. Flat. Unbelieveable. 

The real MC lies in wait, ready to show himself when the MC is at his weakest moment. 

Yes. The REAL MC. He has evoled naturally when you surrendered yourself to the story. He has unwittingly become the hero.

 *For help with hero types, check this out. If it’s the VILLAIN you need help with, read this post!

He created himself at the same time those ideas were flowing like magic. His personality is a-ma-ZING. He’s charming. He’s strong, loveable, and flawed at the same time. 

He stands out above millions of other main characters.

You’re going to have to accept the fact that you’ve got a new main character on your hands prepared to take over. So let him! Switch places with the imposter. Trust me, he doesn’t want the title of MC anymore. He could be a great wingman, so don’t hold him back! Secondary characters (wingmen) have important roles as well.

Remember, your story is demanding to be written a certain way. You’re just the tool. You’ll appreciate the swap, as well as the reader, the story, and the other characters. I give you full permission to fall in love with the new main character! It’s like a mutual separation between you and the old MC anyway. 

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