Welcome to my last Wednesday Wondering! Before you all sob helplessly and call The Samaritans, the slot isn’t going anywhere and neither am I. Having been the nosey parker who has quizzed the other Write Romantics with 30 questions (including this one) since we started this slot in late June last year (although I’ve had help with about a third of the questions coming from the other WRs), I suggested we all take it in turns to host a month and, bless them, the other WRs agreed to it.
For my final Wondering (for now), I have gone back to a writing-themed question:
Have you ever developed a major character and then scrapped them?
This could be cutting them out entirely so they never see the light of day, removing them from one book but re-incarnating them elsewhere, or killing them off. A few of the group have dipped out this week as it simply hasn’t happened to them but here’s what the rest have to say …
After my last NWS critique I almost got rid of a character. I didn’t remove her completely, but I certainly reduced the focus on her. My reasons for doing so were that she didn’t really add to the story, but she did help some scenes to form and move forwards for other characters.
It’s always tough to do this I think, and I really liked this character too. Maybe one day I’ll tell her story 🙂
Not a major character, but I have scrapped quite a lot of secondary ones and the main characters in my first novel, currently in what feels like its twentieth edit, have undergone an almost complete metamorphosis so that they practically feel like totally different people. Character development is something I want to work on a bit more in the future, though, and I might be about to scrap at least one major character in my current WIP… so watch this space.
The book I really slaved over and finished (just finishing it was a first for me) had a young girl in it who was pivotal to the hero and heroine meeting, but I decided to kill her off half way through. I think I just liked the idea of ramping up the emotion and stupidly though it was a good way to do it. My NWS reader tentatively suggested it might not be a good idea to have a romance with a major death in it (!) so I left it at that, because I realised I’d have to write the whole book again and basically was too idle to bother! I’m now re-writing it as I always promised my younger daughter that I would get it published. She was only seven and told her teacher that her mum was a writer. Bit embarrassing really! (Mind you, she also told the teacher her mum was too busy planning her new kitchen to bother with homework, so I guess the teacher had already formed an opinion of me by then). Have to say the book is coming on a treat and is better for not having anyone die in it – Oh, hang on, there is a death in the first chapter – but he was already dead before it started. So that’s ok, then.
I haven’t scrapped a major character from any of my books that I think of as potential go-ers but I was very fond of a builder called Steve who featured in my very first book that I’ve now binned. I used his love interest, Millie, from the same book, in ‘Remarkable Things’ as she was too good to lose, but blue-eyed Steve with his hopelessness over money, his van that he gives a vicious kick to every morning, and his guilt over the death of his alcoholic ex-wife, hasn’t yet found his place in my current writing life. Perhaps he never will, bless ‘im.
In book one of my trilogy, I wanted my protagonist (Sarah) to meet Mr Right quite early on in the book but dismiss him as Mr Wrong. I also wanted her to meet Mr Wrong and think he was Mr Right. Originally I envisaged my Mr Wrong (Simon) as a really nice guy who’d get on well with Sarah and treat her well but she’d realize that something was missing. I hadn’t planned out the book; I just wrote and, unfortunately, Simon took this as a licence to do whatever he liked. He turned into a bit of a disturbed and very nasty character eventually stalking Sarah then holding her at knife-point in her shop unless she agreed to take him back. Not quite sure where all that came from but I knew it wasn’t right for the story at all. This was meant to be a romantic comedy and, although the next two books start exploring deeper themes, stalking and knifes were not what I intended. So Simon came out the book and I had to start over again. I was intrigued by him and his backstory, though, so he may make a re-appearance in a future book although perhaps without the knife!
Over to you. If you’re a writer, have you ever scrapped a major (or even minor) character. If you’re a reader, have you ever flinched when a character has been written out of a story in which you’re engrossed? Please join in and share your experiences by clicking on the heart at the top of the post which will open up the comments section at the bottom.
That’s all for me for the Wednesday Wondering until later in the year. I will, of course, be responding to the questions so I haven’t fully disappeared. Next week and for the rest of February, I leave you in Jo’s capable hands. She’s come up with a set of cracking questions and I can’t wait to read how the rest of the WRs have responded to them.