Wednesday, March 21, 2012

When to delete a character...

When do you know you should delete a character?

I agonized over the last couple of weeks whether or not to delete one of my characters, my mc's great grandmother.  A different one I just chopped, easy peasy, cut her out of the story and done, we shall call her Shaye (okay that was her name) was part of a subplot that I was wishy wash about.  I felt relieved when I cut her.

With Grammy I thought well, is she really accomplishing anything?  Surely I could combine her purpose into a different character.  I couldn't really put my finger on why she was integral to the story.  

So I tried to delete her.  But nothing flowed.  I rewrote the opening a couple times and I just didn't like it.  

And then I had an ah-ha moment.  I realized, that yes someone else could fulfill her purpose, but Grams set the tone.    She was cryptic, she was wrinkly and there was just something about her I couldn't recreate in my other characters, something a thirteen-year-old boy couldn't do.  So I fleshed her out and made her matter more.  And I like the opening a lot better, isn't that great when that happens?

So moral of the story: all your characters need a purpose, and if you can't put you finger on it try to delete them, see what happens.

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