I'm 8,000 words into my novel and I've got one pesky thing out of the way: I've introduced all my major secondary characters. It's something I always find difficult and once they're in there I feel supremely satisfied. I'll worry about more/less detail when I revisit this manuscript (in about three years schedule permitting!) but here how things started from the perspective of Lauren, my protagonist.
Shelley - "A woman came into view with curly brown hair
stretching beyond her shoulders. Lauren couldn’t catch her facial expression
from this range but she instinctively knew she was good-tempered when the
tension in the man’s shoulders gradually disappeared as she sorted out his
problem for him. Then the woman calmly disappeared out of view."
Dawn - "A young blonde, probably mid-teens, reluctantly
got out while he was shouting at her...On closer inspection, Lauren could see she was a
petite girl, though probably with one hell of an attitude. She was dressed in
jeans and a halter top, barely covered by the leather jacket she was
half-wearing. Trouble was the word
which sprang to mind."
Viv and Dot are originally depicted as something of a double act and Lauren hears about them from Shelley before she meets them. This is what Shelley says: "Viv’s got a mouth on her but take anything she
says with a pinch of salt. Dot comes across as her sidekick but she’s a bit
gentler. You’ll see what I mean when they turn up. Viv comes to wash her
husband’s overalls and Dot mainly keeps her company. She lost her job, you see,
in the last round of redundancies at the carpet factory. She was in accounts."
Alan - "He entered looking like a train-spotter, a single bag under
his arm that couldn’t have contained any more than four shirts. He nodded to
Shelley but still seemed a little on edge with her. Methodically, he removed
his anorak and hung it on one of the pegs beside the door. Then he glanced
furtively to Viv and Dot who had paid no attention to his entrance whatsoever. A
flicker of discomfort crossed his face and he commandeered the washing machine
closest to the door."
Ben - "Waiting at the door was a small man in a suit
and tie. He carried a holdall in the same way you’d carry a briefcase, utterly
unconscious to the fact that the long strap was trailing on the floor. He was a
weedy little man with thinning brown hair and thick eyebrows that dwarfed his
thin nose. A small smile tugged his lips with effort as he saw Shelley. It disappeared
when he caught sight of Lauren hovering behind her."
Trying not to think too much about whether the characters on the page match the characters in my head. Time enough for that later!