One of the most interesting avenues that I've been able to explore with the books is expanding the world beyond just the three primary characters. Starting out, I felt that three was enough. Each represented the teachings that I most wanted to convey. In developing their personalities more for the children's book series, their interactions exhibit those basic principles that I had intended from the beginning.
But I realized that that might not be enough. One of my favorite comic strips, "Calvin and Hobbes," features two main characters whose life view resemble the perspective of two major Western philosophers, but it's their interactions with other people (the parents, the teacher Mrs. Wormwood, etc.) that makes it even more interesting and humorous. How do their ways play out in a world beyond their control? How do others react to their behavior or ways of thinking? As big and imaginative Calvin is, and how important his friendship with Hobbes is, he's still a kid trying to make sense of a place run by adults.
So, I'm thinking of ways to introduce that concept as well. First, with a grandfather figure who I've introduced before, he is the end-of-life foil to the boy. Tempered by time and wisdom, he sees things as they are and lives from moment to moment just like the boy.
I'm also introducing a cousin who's in between the grandfather and the boy's age, and provides a story of acceptance, independence, and resilience in the face of life's challenges of being a single mother-to-be.
There is also a friend whose youth and enthusiasm drive him to act in ways that often exhibit strength, power, and speed, which might serve him well but are not always wise.
Finally, a variety neighbors -- adults and children alike -- who will appear time and again. They act a bit like a Greek Chorus, communicating the general values, priorities, and conscience of the community -- for better or for worse.
I hope you enjoy getting to know these secondary characters as much as you've explored the relationships of the three main friends. More to come in the next few months, I hope you keep happy and well in the meantime.