30 Days of Writing–Day 19: Minor Characters


For Elise

Image by * Dino Galvagno * via Flickr


Moving on to minor characters now, who often can be more fun and interesting to write than the protagonist and antagonist.

19. Favorite minor that decided to shove himself into the spotlight and why!

Few people have met her, but the one who made me giggle the most was Elise from The Fool’s Bet.  Though the rest of the story was a monument to Freshman mistakes, she had quite a few lines either about her or that she spoke that I still think are pretty damn funny.  Here’s how she’s described when the reader first meets her (please forgive the bad writing in all the excerpts below that I see so much more clearly now):

Elise was recently divorced from husband number two. She had lived in LA a bit too long, unfortunately, and men to her were becoming like bottled water–absolutely essential for living but quickly consumed and 100% disposable.

When Elise meets her dear friend’s very tall love interest for the first time:

As he made his way toward them, Elise said, “Good Lord, Chelsea.  What have you dragged home?  He’s very cute but couldn’t you find one in your size?  You won’t be able to kiss and f**k him at the same time!”

A good friend to the protagonist, Elise was great with a comeback that was both funny and supportive:

“Has she always been like this?” Zach asked Elise, nodding his head toward Chelsea.

“Do you mean sarcastic, bossy and sharp-tongued?  Or do you mean witty, intelligent, and generous?  If so, the answer is yes, she’s always been like this.”

And then one of my favorite exchanges between Elise and Chelsea:

“Define what you believe to be the perfect guy for me?” asked Chelsea.

“Driven but kind, successful but not flaunting of it, attractive but not so attractive that women would be throwing themselves at him, private, generous and with a sense of humor.  How’d I do?”

“That’s pretty good but I doubt such a man exists.”

“Oh he exists all right and you’re going to go out with him and have a marvelous time.  The man I’m thinking of is single and in possession of a fortune.  Ergo, he must surely be in want of a wife…or at least someone to act like a wife in all things carnal.”

“What’s his name, Charles Bingley?” asked Chelsea, laughing at Elise’s literary allusion to her favorite novel, Pride and Prejudice.

“I think he goes by Chuck these days,” said Elise.  “But we really must fix you up a bit, maybe get your hair trimmed and re-layered and dye it to cover the grey.”

“I don’t have any grey hairs yet!”

“Just a few.  Nothing a semi-permanent rinse can’t cover up though.  I can do your makeup for you too.  You’ll go, have a nice dinner and then you can thank him in your own special way afterwards.”

“Elise!  I hope you are not implying that I should have sex with this guy just because he buys me dinner,” said Chelsea, though not overly shocked, considering the source.

“Certainly not.  You should have sex with him because you need to have sex with someone and soon before you forget how.  But he doesn’t need to know that.  Make him chase you around Netherfield Park a bit first.”

I still snicker at that last line.  Ha!  Sometimes it’s hard to be humble; other times you gotta batten down the hatches against the fury of bluntly honest feedback.  The Fool’s Bet‘s harshest critic (to whom I am eternally grateful for her candor but still limping from her sarcastic delivery of it)  had the kindest words for Elise.

Though I trunked  The Fool’s Bet, I may recycle Elise one of these days, possibly even give her her own story.  Her will to live is quite strong.  She just had the misfortune to befriend a character who wasn’t all that interesting.  And as they say, timing is everything!