Why Writers Remove Some Characters but Keep Others?
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Last week and this week I have discussed my deleted character Zios and why I sort of deleted him from my 2nd draft . But today I wanted to discuss why writers in general might remove characters but keep others. I will try to come up with an answer as best as I can with my experience as a writer so far.
Okay so the reason why I think some writers remove some characters and keep others is because the character simply doesn’t work well with the scene, or story all together. Their histories might be minimal . They might even take up space that is needed for the main character . And we don’t need to write words for just filling up space or word count now do we? In my experience. In my own opinion I think it is better never to write a character or scene just to make your word count goal.
When going through my first draft I found that I had wrote many unnecessary scenes with unnecessary characters just to get to 80,000 words . Those characters that I cut from the first draft are like 2 or three so far. There might be more I cut as I go along.
The problem that I found with the first draft and the characters that I cut was that they didn’t really have a reason to be in the story . I found myself trying to just- I guess make up stuff as I went along for those characters and their scenes with the main character. I mean they may have been good characters by themselves but their interaction with the main character just didn’t fit well. It was forced and not natural .
For example the main characters mother had a husband in the first draft . A step father to the main character . The main characters mother also had a boss that had an infatuation with her . Both of them hated my main character . However I couldn’t fit the interaction with her and the step father character together well because I really didn’t have a substantial enough back story, or motivations for the stepfather character . I felt in my mind he was a throw away character I guess. So in my current 2nd draft . He is deleted altogether but I have kept the infatuated boss character who in the 2nd draft has become the boyfriend to the main characters mother and I keep the histories and interactions between him and the main character that I had in the first draft. But since the step father character is cut from this current draft the interactions between the boss character and my main character fills more justified and stronger than it was. The silent hate they have for each other is comes out stronger as well.
I even thought about cutting more characters but you’ll see what I finally did when I finish the book for publication.
Removing characters and keeping others is hard to do . But in the end there is always a justifiable reason to do it . Because it in a way could make your novel stand out and be so much better . That’s also why revising your drafts are important.
So I Know it’s hard but you know the saying writers say when in doubt kill your darlings from the page.
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Why did you cut your characters from your novels?
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