Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing & Publishing ~

Tag Archives: major character

Very Special Characters


All the characters in a well-written story are “special” or they wouldn’t be there–each has their part to play, minor or major.

Major characters often determine plot elements and most writers build the story around them. That last sentence may seem obvious but I’ve read books that have been rewritten from a different character’s point of view yet kept the same plot elements and flow. Check out Ender’s Shadow as one example.

Minor characters often are radically changed as the writing of a book proceeds (Majors can be, too, but that “usually” changes the plot structure); yet, these secondary folk can sometimes surprise a writer.

Take the character Morna, an artificial intelligence, in my recently published book, Notes from An Alien.

I thought she would only be in the first chapter. She soon changed my mind and became, if not a major character, a recurring significant character. In fact, the last words of the book are hers.

I even ended a blog post with those words and, for those interested, you may want to read, How I Had To Change Myself In Order To Write My Book…, to explore how much of an author ends up in a book’s plot and characters

So, we’ve touched on minor, significant, and major characters. What about Very Special Characters?

The book, Sophie’s World, by Jostein Gaarder has characters that could be considered Meta–they actually begin considering their place in the book and ponder its plot.

Sena Quaren, the “co-author” of Notes from An Alien, steps out of the story and asks the reader to consider if the book is truth or fiction.

The bulk of Notes from An Alien happens in another star-system and almost all the characters have no knowledge of Earth, yet Sena’s daughter, Ararura, writes the last chapter and speaks directly to the Earth-bound reader.

Have you come across any Very Special Characters in your reading?

Have you created any or do you think you might?

Can you imagine other classes of Very Special Characters?

Please, do share your thoughts and experience in the comments :-)

[ Edit: check out the follow-up post—Very Special Characters ~ Revisited ]
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