Monday, February 7, 2011

Enough and Goodbye

Upon looking at my book, I've realized some major mistakes. Character mistakes.

Big breath.

It comes down to how my characters feel to me throughout the book as a whole as well as in individual scenes. Truth is, I love my characters, all of them. Even the bad (antagonistic) ones. They have become a distinctive, influential part of the story, my story.

Sometimes, my characters are practically shouting off the page admitting they need fixing. Sometimes, however, my characters are passive aggressive and fall underneath the radar, managing to stay in the entire book without me noticing that there was something broken about them.

There are two things I can do:
  1. Give my characters enough of what they need. Not over embellish, but fix them... see what's missing in the story and do what it takes to iron out the kinks until I've reached an equilibrium where my characters have depth and I've made reasonable compromises.
  2. Tell the character goodbye. I know people say that sometimes goodbye is the best thing to do, but come on, that is really, really hard. Keeping them around could also ruin all the hard work I've put in, and it may bring down something that has great potential. I may be facing just that problem with one or more of my characters. When this problem arises, I find it's easier to safely store that character's essence in a file folder on my computer somewhere so I don't lose them entirely... perhaps they can have their own different story sometime in the future.
If you're not a writer, there is a metaphor to be found in this. Characters are synonymous to friends and stories are synonymous to life. Sometimes they need fixing and sometimes you just need to say goodbye.

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