I'm putting my plot back together, and yes it is requiring bolts and stitches and, possibly, an arc welder (but it's more this than that). And it's going, which is a vast improvement over the paralysis of the last two weeks.
While paralyzed, I spent a lot of time watching scenes in my head of my characters going about their daily lives, water cooler interactions, puttering about the house on a lazy Sunday, standing in line at the grocery store, eating the warm carcasses of their fresh kills. You know, those little incidental things that, added up, turn days into weeks and so on.
So, I came through my paralysis with a much better understanding of what makes my MC tick, what lights her fuse, and what kinds of things are beneath her notice. I also now understand the people around her better, have seen them in their own contexts, which will likely never make it into a manuscript, but which are important. I've dropped a couple of peripheral characters, combined two, and enhanced two.
Secondary characters are necessary for most kinds of fiction. Some secondary characters work as props, bland, faceless dialog and bed partners. Others stride, roaring, onto the stage and jerk the reader straight out of the forward momentum of the plot. I'm not striving for a happy medium, just making sure that I have the right people at the right place for legit reasons, that they make sense and have some unique characteristics, that they don't all sound alike, and that sometimes they do unexpected things. And a couple of them have to be funny, at least to me. I can't abide a book full of serious characters, just as I can't abide a room full of serious people in real life.
I've still got both legs to attach and some internal organs to rearrange. *snaps on latex gloves* So, off I go.