I just had my in-laws staying. For seven weeks! Don’t get me wrong, they’re nice, easy-going people (at least, they kept telling me so), but I reckon Ghandi could test your patience after seven weeks in your spare room.
There was no one thing they did to annoy me (OK, there was one thing: “The car had an accident,” said Pops. It wasn’t him. It was the car.) It was all the little irks and ticks that built up over the time. And it was a long time. Seven weeks. Did I mention that already?
By the final week, I was frazzled. And my wife was away on business, leaving me to deal with them on my own. It came to a head one evening when I had to ask Mom, again, not to snap the spine of my paperbacks when reading them (“But it’s so much easier to hold in one hand.”)
I had to talk to someone. I had to get it all off my chest. But it was 11pm, who could I call? My wife’s days were full with meetings and preparing for meetings and, anyway, I’d just be moaning again if I called her. Who else then? Who could I call at that time of night to sound off?
It’s at these moments you realize the kind of support network you have. It’s a special kind of someone who’ll take that kind of call at that time of night and still give the level of sympathy you’re looking for.
There will be times in your story, too, when your protagonist needs support. And it’s not always obvious where that support will come from. Sometimes you have to dig deep to find that secondary character who will step in to save your hero just at the right time. [Read more…]