Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Chop... chop... chop...

Hi all! I'm still waiting for that special brave soul who wants to contribute on the third Friday in January. But any other Fridays in March except for the first one is open. So, if you follow me (or have just clicked follow) and want to get you blog a bit further out there, please contact me at mishagericke@gmail.com (mishagericke(AT)gmail(DOT)com) to book a Friday or to submit posts.

I cannot wait for Friday. :-)




So... During the course of my rewrite, a new character has made her appearance despite my efforts to prevent this.

I have planned. I have outlined. I have sworn to myself that I would keep the cast from the first draft.

But... None of it worked. Quinlan, who appeared in the first draft has been growing in stature in my mind and his sister has pitched up as well.

Both are really quirky and completely unplanned.

I knew by the time I finished the rough draft that I would like to expand Quinn's role, but as I started the rewrite, I realized that I couldn't have him and another of my favorites (Eoin). After a lot of wondering, I decided that Eoin filled a place in the book that could be redistributed to Quinn, Darrion and Gawain. Which made him much too expendable. To my sadness, I decided to give him the chop in the rewrites.

Still, it makes me a little worried, because I always thought that he would be more interesting in the sequels. But that does not blunt the point that he is frankly taking up too much space. Between him and Quinlan, he is just that little (fatal) bit duller.

Then... in my rewrite, I required someone to bring Callan some clothes. In walked one of the most intriguing supporting characters that I have ever written. But I knew that she would take up too much place. Sigh...

But  wants her. *cries*

On the other hand, I realized that if Eoin had to go, his sister had no reason to stay, except to be Gawain's love interest. Oh wait... He had his own thoughts on that... So... Eoin's sister is now redundant. 

Chop chop.

At this point, I feel the need to mention that the new character was Quinlan's sister before I even knew about her. So no... I didn't just replace one brother and sister pair. I removed two characters and replaced them with others.

I still think that Eoin and Faye will find their way back though... Can't wait to see what happens.

What about you? Have you ever had to make harsh choices about your characters? How did you come to your decision? How did it work out?

16 comments:

Bish Denham said...

Haven't had to do anything like that yet. But who knows, it could happen!

Cherie Reich said...

In my NaNo novel, I realized I had a couple characters take over more than was necessary to the plot and story, so when I go to rewrites, I'm taking their scenes and going to rewrite them from either another character's POV or delete the scene all together. Sometimes these things have to happen. You can always promise them a story of their own later. ;)

Marian Allen said...

Cherie is right! I have one character (Bud Blossom) who thinks he's in EVERYTHING. He's like, "Hey, I'm in that story! That's all about me." I'm like, "No, Bud, it isn't about you. It's about this other guy." "Yeah, but that guy and I are best friends." "No, Bud, you aren't. He doesn't even like you." He's like, "Conflict! Sweet!" I'm like, "NO! Go back to your houseboat and lie to somebody!"

Sometimes, you just have to be firm!

Marian Allen

Theresa Milstein said...

Rewriting is a lot more difficult than the first draft. Then you see all the holes. The more merciless you can be with your words, the better!

I'd be interested in guest posting. Any specific topic your'e looking for?

L.A. Colvin said...

I had this happen. I had to kill a beloved character and I did NOT want to do it. I was actually angry about it and who killed him. But I had to follow the rules and he just couldn't live and it be believable. Plus it tied up a loose end so death it was. *sigh* I'm still upset about it. ;)

Book Owl said...

Yes. I had this really awesome character that lived inside my MC's mind (there was a reason for that). But after awhile the reason for this became harder and harder to keep with the story and the character herself was becoming a bother to write, cause she didn't really do andything. So, regretfully, she had to go :(

Elana Johnson said...

Yes, yes! I had to cut a character from my novel completely. My agent actually spied the problem, because I didn't use him in an emotional way. Now I watch for that in every character I write. Sometimes I just have to cut them out, and use them somewhere else.

WritingNut said...

Yes, I'm in edits now and I think I might have a couple of those! But the good news is that you may be able to use them for later, that way the chopping isn't in vain.. it's so hard! Good luck :)

Lydia K said...

Sometimes those changes are painful but for the best. I love the names of your characters. They're gorgeous!

Maria Zannini said...

When you must, you must. It's knowing that it's the right thing that makes you realize you've grown as a writer too.

Shannon said...

I think I may need to delete a character that was going to play a major role in the novel ... but didn't.

Misha said...

It's never happened to me before either, Bish. Still, I knew the moment I made the decision that it was the right one.

That's so true, Cherie. I think my muse promised the two of them that they'll be back later in the series. ;-)

So true, Marian. I also have characters that are pushing really hard to become main characters. I just really don't have space for them. Now they must just stay happy in their places now and I will give them bigger roles later, as was my plan. Forget firm. Sometimes I have to be ruthless.

Theresa, I actually find that it is a lot easier. The way I see it, it's easier to navigate a hole I can see than the one I can't. :-)

L.A. I know what you mean. That has not happened to me yet, but I once thought it would. It tore me appart. :-)

Owl that is sad to hear. But it's great that you did realize that she had to go. :-)

Elana I think I'll end up doing something like that with the two I cut out now. There just wasn't any good chemistry between them and my MCs. So now I will likely move them somewhere where they will have some use. I'm just glad I caught it in the rewrite. If I caught on too late, I would have had a lot more trouble to remove all knowledge/influence of the characters from the story. :-)

WN It is very hard to do. Good luck with the edits. :-)

Thanks Lydia! :-)

That is very true, Maria. I realized how much I grew once I decided to let go of the two characters. It's something I would never have done before. :-)

Shannon, it's really hard, so think very carefully about it. I'm changing a considerable part of the story by getting rid of the two characters, but it will be worth it. But, you can give him/her a bigger part too... I just couldn't because I have a big cast of characters and have to limit them to prevent future confusion. :-)

SAMUEL PARK said...

HI Mischa--

Thank you so much for the Stylish Blogger Award! Sorry it took so long to thank you for it. So much going on in your blog! I admire your creative energy!

Misha said...

Hi Samuel. Always a pleasure to give out rewards to those that deserve it. Thanks so much for your lovely complement. :-D

Jessica Hill said...

It's always difficult to think about cutting your characters, but sometimes it is necessary. I have a short story I'm working on right now, and I think I may need to end up cutting the MC's love interest. She takes up space that makes the story too long, but the story doesn't need her to survive. But I do want to keep her! *sigh* I may keep an alternate (longer) version of the story that keeps her. We'll see.

Good luck with your rewrites!

Jen Chandler said...

I've had this happen a lot!! Usually, it's a character suddenly appearing and me going, "Who are you? And what do you want?". I automatically get defensive and tell them they aren't invited. But they stay. They refuse to budge and I end up falling in love with them.

Recently, as in this morning in fact, I realized that a character I'd THOUGHT was THE character for a story isn't a character at all. He's been replaced by someone else. Kind of a newer version, with a different name and back story.

It's hard to cut characters from your story. Kudos to you for being brave enough to do so!