So, I got a massage today. It’s a necessity for me. If someone doesn’t rub the tension out of my shoulders once a month I get terrible headaches and go on homicidal rampages. Anyway, when the therapist is attacking my knotted muscles, I’m not thinking about anything but, “Just cut it out of my back and soak it in hot water!” But when she’s massaging muscles that don’t have any problems, I worry a bit about body image.
I wonder if she’s rolling her eyes at my not-so-perfect body. If she sniggers about it in the break room with all her hoodlum massage therapist pals. But then I thought, nah. I bet that, when she’s on a break or not at work, the last thing she thinks about is rubbing on other people. She thinks about her parakeet or her significant other or whether to cook something healthy for dinner before giving in and eating chips. She does not think about me.
This led me to main characters. A main character is surrounded by secondary characters, and I’ve always thought it suspicious when the seconds have nothing more to do than sit around and think/talk/rhapsodize about the main. Shouldn’t they have lives? This is especially annoying in first person narratives, when it seems like the universe does revolve around the main. I think an author has to be careful to include the lives of the other characters, at least a little bit, to make up complete back stories for them, even if those stories are not included in the novel. Making up the stories will help flesh out the characters and will give the seconds something to think/talk/rhapsodize about that doesn’t include the main.
What about all of you? Do you find it odd when the lives of the seconds completely revolve around the main? Are there any books that feel like the seconds are doing nothing but waiting for the main to return?