Wednesday, March 16, 2011

I Have to "Kill My Darling"

There's killing a character in a story, then there is making them disappear...

While editing/rewriting Patriarch, I added characters, I added situations, I expanded the story to almost twice it's rough draft size. But now after I rested and thought about it, I know I have to make some cuts. And the biggest will be a character named Shawn Nugent.

He's an interesting vampire. For him becoming a vampire meant that his food changed, nothing else. He has found a way to work and still interact with humans, and use his vampire powers to assist with his work. A bit on the crazy side (a few of my characters are like that, must be the drone of immortality), but a good guy at heart.

I had to make cuts somewhere. Someone tweeted a few weeks ago: "writers if I need a scorecard to keep track of characters you have too many." That is the problem with Patriarch. I sensed it when I wrote the rough draft. As I finished the first draft, I knew that was one of the major problems.

So Shawn had to be cut. He really didn't add to the story. The scenes he was in were fun to write, but there are some other characters that can take his place in the same scenes and it will still make sense.

Why was he there in the first place? Not to give too much away (because it makes sense in the novel, won't here), he basically was an example. X happened in the story, and Y,Z, AA, BB, and CC are the results. As you can see, I have plenty of examples. He was handy when I needed some extra muscle, but I have characters already for that.

Sorry Shawn, you are cut from this production.

But what to do with him? He has been in development for a few years now. I don't want to throw him away. Here are somethings I could do:
  • Work him into the series at a later date. That could work. I can mention him, so he doesn't come out of the blue. Easiest thing to do, since he was made with this series in mind.
  • Take him out of the series and develop a story around him. That is tempting too. One of the reasons I cut him, is he took attention away from the main characters. He might be too big to be a minor character. And it would be fun to write about vampires outside of the Coiree Series.
  • Let him sit in my idea folder. Back to limbo. I don't want to do that, but might be forced to. I don't think he will stay there for long.
So when I start the second rounds. Shawn will be removed. Rest in Peace, Shawn, I hope its only temporary.

1 comment:

  1. Great post. I'm thinking about euthanizing a character or two in my WIP as well. It's really too early to know for sure -- not even half way through the first draft -- but my critique group has suggested there may be a surplus of secondary characters. Helpful to consider this now, so thanks.