I've been watching the wonderful, thorough and fervent reviews of Inheritance like the last period of the final Stanley Cup game where the Toronto Maple Leafs are winning by 10 goals! (Yes, it's spelled incorrectly as the plural of leaves, but I assume it had to do with logo balance more than ignorance of grammar or as an indictment of Canadian spelling liberties) To those that don't follow hockey, that means it's riveting, and violent! I still go back and watch the episode (Ep. 55 Lacuna part 1) where DV finally flings the book crying "Oh! No they didn't! Are these gonna be?" *reads more* "Eggs? Eggs that have been guarded for over a century!" *book flies*
That, brothers and sisters, should be our battle meme from now on! "Eggs?!" Yes, it has both punctuations, but I cite the unique combination of confusion, indignation, and rage that is incited wholly and singularly by Paolini.
In light of all the insightful commentary about PaoPao's characters, I'm going to ask some meta-questions I've pondered about how to balance characters in a work of fiction. Paolin tries, I really believe that, he wants the supporting cast to have nuance, I think he genuinely likes them. He blunders it at ever turn albeit, converting them into plot bursts, and it's easy to hold them up, like babies on a spear. (see what I did there, heh, heh, aren't I witty).
Yes, that was a groaner in this community, BUT it also serves as an example of how the familiar shapes a reader's response to a joke, a setting or an idea. People who weren't in this community or consumers of Eragon might (justifiably) find that simile in poor taste.
How do you find that perfect triumvirate between individual realization, plot support, and story momentum, especially in incidental characters? We've seen it done badly in the "as you know bob" trope applied to people having lucky conversations within hearing of the Hero, or pity characters soaking damage to show us how EeeeeVil a main character is, but how do you overcome the inherent prejudice of the reader themselves? It's there, don't kid yourselves.
So, how do you meter out the story-building through lesser characters without drawing too much attention, without making them seem like a plot convenience or stereo-type, making them so abrupt that they break the flow, or making them so intrinsic that the reader dismisses them out right because they DON'T set off their 'PAY ATTENTION I'M EXPOSITION' alarm?
I think faithful readers of a genre look for the tropes and can contribute to the failure of organic secondary/tertiary characters because they've simply been conditioned to expect the arm-waving. They howl at the end, saying the author pulled a Deus ex Machina when, in truth, the ending has been supported through subtle influences and machinations they missed because they were waiting for someone walking in with a sign over their head.
Thoughts? Good examples? More bad examples?