Your story sings when your secondary character (SC) is on the scene. Your plot comes alive when your SC is around.Your readers beg to see more of your SC.
SCs create conflict, throw out obstacles and cause trouble. Or they may offer loving support, friendship and wisdom. They poke at our main characters (MC) with snarky jabs or gentle advice and we LOVE them ... sometimes more than our main character. And when that happens, it's as annoying as a guest getting all the attention at YOUR birthday party.
So what do you do when an SC starts taking over your story? I'm looking for answers. Here's what I've come up with so far.
1. Your MC may be too passive, simply reacting to everything happening around him. Unless passive behavior is his flaw, give him something proactive to do.
2. Your MC needs more voice. Hilarious first person narration can keep your MC center stage. But whether funny, sober, sassy, or something in between, your MC's distinctive voice should make readers stand to attention.
3. Your MC may not be "likeable" enough. What makes your MC relatable? Why do we want to spend time with him? The more relatable, sympathetic and likeable your MC, the more we'll stick with him.
4. Give your MC more. Make him funnier, smarter, kinder, wittier, more loyal, more loving, more sensitive - something - more than your SC
5. Finally, you may have to tone down your party guest. Just a little. And save some of that celebrity for your sequel. How do you think Ramona Quimby got her start?