Detailed descriptions of secondary characters...

Discuss the August 2016 Book of the Month, The Lost Identity Casualties by Kim Ekemar.

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CatInTheHat
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Re: Detailed descriptions of secondary characters...

Post by CatInTheHat » 18 Aug 2016, 14:07

Prisaneify wrote:It depends on what the focus of the book is on. One of the books I'm listening to right now has tons of information on the previously killed secondary characters because of how they tie-in with each other and the main characters (2 of them). I really enjoy this format. Now, if they only make an appearance every 100 pages, I probably don't need to know much more than their relationship with the main character and if they did anything important to influence the story.
I concur, the relationship with the main character is key in to what I want to know about secondary characters.
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Post by bluemel4 » 21 Aug 2016, 10:41

gali wrote:
braver wrote:I love character development and understanding why characters do what they do, so I didn't mind the backstories for the other characters. I just thought the way they were presented wasn't necessarily the best, particularly his wife's mental "explanation" of her backstory - that was an odd choice and felt forced.
I felt that the her backstory was inserted just to explain her distaste to him after the surgery, and it did feel force.
I have to disagree. Julia's story added to the horror of the face transplant and gave a much needed heightened boost. I do agree that the secondary stories were too long. It made it hard to feel connected to Matthias, even with his narration being in first person.
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Post by CatInTheHat » 21 Aug 2016, 15:24

bluemel4 wrote:
gali wrote:
braver wrote:I love character development and understanding why characters do what they do, so I didn't mind the backstories for the other characters. I just thought the way they were presented wasn't necessarily the best, particularly his wife's mental "explanation" of her backstory - that was an odd choice and felt forced.
I felt that the her backstory was inserted just to explain her distaste to him after the surgery, and it did feel force.
I have to disagree. Julia's story added to the horror of the face transplant and gave a much needed heightened boost. I do agree that the secondary stories were too long. It made it hard to feel connected to Matthias, even with his narration being in first person.

It must have been rather shocking for her to see her slave holder's face on her husband!
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Post by bluemel4 » 21 Aug 2016, 15:59

@CatInTheHat It was a cruel twist of fate and a good twist! Poor Julia and her carefully reconstructed life. How she kept silent once those bandages came off is beyond comprehension. I would have been screaming my head off and probably had my own breakdown if I were her.
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Post by psychopathycathy » 28 Aug 2016, 00:06

While I did love reading about the secondary character's backstories, I felt like they could have been executed in a different fashion. I agree with the review in that I often get lost in long chunks of text, and I think better integration would have given us the same story in a much more fluent manner.

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Post by Yelitzag08 » 30 Aug 2016, 16:04

I think in general it depends on the importance of the secondary characters to the overall story. I don't mind reading information about the background characters if it relates to the plot of the story or to the main characters.
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Post by AA1495 » 02 Sep 2016, 11:03

Well the long backgrounds of secondary characters definitely lowers the reader's intrigue and attention. If I'm reading a story, I would like the plot to move forward with every chapter. By describing secondary characters so much, the main plot comes to a standstill and I wouldn't like that.

-- 05 Sep 2016, 17:24 --
Yelitzag08 wrote:I think in general it depends on the importance of the secondary characters to the overall story. I don't mind reading information about the background characters if it relates to the plot of the story or to the main characters.
True. In most books I've read, the background tells us the motive behind some actions, and that changes our entire perspective. I wouldn't mind that! :)

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Post by Thimble » 17 Sep 2016, 23:05

I found the backstories to be interesting, but aside from MC's wife's and Michail's, I don't think they were really needed. Also, it felt like they were put into the book oddly. I think it would have been better if they were integrated more naturally.
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Post by bookerang » 24 Sep 2016, 18:16

I found the background stories of the supporting actors both interesting and necessary because they fleshed out their characters. When I read the first book in this series, I didn’t find that this obstructed the flow in any way at all, quite the contrary.
I became intrigued when I read the comments in this forum, so I went through the book to see how many background stories there actually are. I found seven: Matthias Callaghan’s father, his wife Julie, his ex-business partner Allan, the gangster boss Flint, the mob’s lawyer Rathbone, the butler Andrew and the mafioso Berlosky. All of them prominent in the novel and necessary to move the action forward! No minor actor have been given any lengthy description, so I’m at loss here what the fuss is about.
I just started reading the sequel, so I don’t know yet, but since all but one of the aforementioned characters are still alive, I’m guessing they’ll continue to play important roles.

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Post by Camogirl217 » 28 Oct 2016, 14:00

In my opinion, secondary characters should only be described in great detail if it impacts the story. Characters that only appear two or three times shouldn't be described as if they were the protagonist. It takes up too much space and is just plain boring. Plus it confuses the reader. Now we have to memorize who is who and who does this and who has that.
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Post by eelavahs-jay » 29 Sep 2017, 16:18

Secondary characters with a strong presence in a novel can and probably should be given a background. However, there doesn't need to be lengthy explanations if they aren't even that instrumental to the plot.

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Post by red weiwei » 28 Nov 2017, 19:56

QUESTION??
I DONT QUITE UNDERSTAND WHERE SHOULD I READ
I CAN'T FIND IT
NEED HELP PLEASE

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Post by kelvinmwaniki17 » 27 Jul 2018, 07:48

I can't say I've found any books with secondary characters with a strong presence in a novel, but I would really love to read one.

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