Friday, April 11, 2014

J: John vs Joan Watson

Lucy Liu as "Joan"
Martin Freeman as "John"
In yesterday's post, "I am Sherlocked," I mentioned the BBC's Sherlock and CBS's Elementary. You can't have a Sherlock without a Watson. Dr. John Watson is played by Martin Freeman in Sherlock. For a twist, Elementary portrays a female version, Dr. Joan Watson, played by the lovely Lucy Liu. Both characters add depth, humor and spunk to their important roles.

If you find the sidekick in your writing a bit boring or you feel they just don't fit, rework them until they do. Don't settle. As Nike boasts, Just Do It. Get that red pen out and start editing or start over. I am a former teacher; I still have red pens in abundance. I left my work-in-progress alone for an entire year while I was finishing Free Runner and seeking publication. I wrote both stories one right after the other, but something was off with my second novel. A month after my debut's release it hit me. My secondary character needed fixing in my WIP. The sidekick, a thirteen-year-old boy, needed to be over the top on the funny, the silly & the outrageous. After all, he is in the prime of his middle school years. I grabbed my notebook and took notes on my thirteen-year-old son for the next few months. Countless times I said out loud, "Yep, that's going in my novel." The Main Character and the antagonist needed a complete overhaul as well. But we'll save the villain talk for another post. Muhahaha. (Wrings hands in anticipation.)

Are you satisfied with your secondary characters? Do they work well with the protagonist? Is it easy or hard for you to make changes in your writing? Do you have a favorite secondary character in a book, t.v. series or movie?

#atozchallenge #amwriting #Sherlock #Elementary 
Photo credits: free images


  1. You took notes on your son - that's funny! Bet it made the character more realistic though.

    1. You don't know the half of it! I couldn't make this stuff up;-D My oldest son was the model for my first book (completely different personality). But I will save that for another post.

  2. I love both Joan and John. Such great characters! I've done that--note taking on my kids. =) I'm quite satisfied with my side characters. They're so freeing. You can do anything with side characters and your audience will accept it, but the leads, they want specific things out of leads and I sometimes feel constrained by those unspoken expectations--at least on a subconscious level.

  3. I'm a huge secondary character fan. Watson is one of the best, in print, or in motion. Also I agree with Crystal, you have more freedom with your secondary players.

  4. Ah, thirteen. I bet he's a lot of fun ;).

    My secondary characters... Hmmm... I guess I'm still tweaking them. (I love to rewrite, and I do it the most.)


October #IWSG

Come join Alex J. Cavanaugh and the Insecure Writer's Support Group. We discuss our fears, insecurities, ups and downs of the writing p...