This is undoubtedly related to being a discovery writer. Sometimes, in the middle of a story, I get to meet a walk-on character.
Often, as with the current version of SEVEN STARS (possibly to be renamed CURSED), I know that there’s going to be a need for a character at a certain point in the story. They’re in the plans. I’ve got two of those coming up in the next couple of chapters.
Sometimes, I reach a point in the plot and just need a character that hasn’t already been introduced to do something. I’ve had one of those in a recent chapter and there’s one coming up in the next chapter. These characters don’t have to do much as a rule. The one coming up just has to guide my characters to a secret entrance. I don’t expect he’ll do much besides that.
Then again, he could surprise me. The last character of that type has piqued my interest and just may end up with a bigger role.
But the real surprises are the complete walk-ons. The ones that were never planned at all, who just walk in and take on a part of the story. I’ve had one of those turn up in the last chapter. It wasn’t a role I felt I needed to fill. Maybe my subconscious did.
This character just showed up and told me he was an old friend of one of the main characters and that now that that character has begun to change, the old friend wants to hold him back and make him stay in his old roles. Cool! A new source of conflict. Can my character who’s just begun to believe in himself overcome the doubts of people who knew him before? How will the challenge affect him?
I also think that, probably unwittingly, this new character is going to have a role to play in moving my romance along. The main characters have been taking their jobs just a little too seriously. Someone needs to give them a little shove. All work and no play . . .