About Me

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A writer by predilection, an aunt by blessing and a friend by choice, Shelley has spent many years journaling before sitting down to draft her first novel. She has a B.A. in English discourse and is currently working on her third romantic-suspense, the title of which will be announced soon pending publication. Shelley is a member of the Romance Writers of America as well as her RWA state chapter of the Maryland Romance Writers.
"I love story-telling. It's a way to live an experience through the eyes of a character." - Shelley N. Greene

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


            Let’s do this.  Time to throw open the door, trot ‘em out and line ‘em up.   You know who I'm talking about - the Usual Suspects.

            When writing fiction, your hero and heroine are always the main focus.  While they interact with the leads, the secondary characters are primarily in place to play specific roles: the temptress, mentor, confidant, fool, trickster, devil, fool, king/father, etc.  These functions are important to the story, but often the rudimentary job of the secondary character gets a little played-out.  That’s when they become the usual suspects.  

            The bubbly best girlfriend, the trusty guy companion, the smarmy rich guy there to rival the poor-guy hero, to cite a few. 

            Essentially the usual suspects are stock characters and they get that bum rap because, let’s face it, they work.  They have the heroine's back at the right time and enable the hero to ride to the rescue on his horse.  This is good, but if you want your writing to stand out, you want to push against the tried-and-overused.  Turn the usual on its head.  Avoid the stereotype.  

            It is okay to go with the same ol' suspect line-up, just give them new traits.  For instance, don’t let the trickster look so mischievous.  Let him act smooth, almost innocent.

            Make the mentor reluctant; the sage scatterbrained, the confidante assertive.  Keep them simple, but hard to pick out of the crowd.  Call in the unusual suspects.  

            We’re in the homestretch to Z!  Twenty-one letters down, five to go! 

            Please join me tomorrow—V is for Villain.   *evil grin*


1 comment:

  1. You make an excellent point with this post and have given me food for thought (which is impressive, as I don't like having to think too hard or for too long). ;-)

    Some Dark Romantic