Thursday, September 28, 2006

Cut Him Loose

What's the old saying? If you love someone, set them free?

A few days ago, I dove headfirst into a stalled WIP. I have written about 12,000 words since Monday evening, and still have a lot of steam left. I don't know where the energy is coming from. I just know that it's time to finish telling this story. These characters have something to say.

It's set in the same universe as "The Watchman Project," the book I'm querying to agents, only twenty-five years later. Several of the old characters are…well, older now. And there are two new characters that I adore. I can't get enough of them and their awkward love story (not Meredith/McDreamy awkward, but just as complicated).

They aren't the problem. The problem is one of the supporting characters. He's a nice guy with a nifty superpower, but he just doesn't have much to do. Even in the climax (God bless outlines), he serves mostly to feed information to the main protagonists. He doesn't affect the story enough to really justify his presence.

Ever read/see the stage play version of "The Outsiders" by SE Hinton? The character of Steve Randle is removed completely, and his lines are distributed to other characters. At first I was annoyed. Then I thought about it, and I realized that Steve served little purpose in the story, other than to be a counterpoint to Sodapop. The story works just fine without him (as staged, because I think the novel gave him a little more to do).

Well, my character reminds me of Steve. His lines could be reassigned, and his character removed completely without really hurting the narrative.

I just hate gutting a character. Especially when, in my mind's eye, he looks like David Wenham.

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