Characters need purpose. And when you’re working on a novel about centaurs, you gotta have centaurs, right?
My first edition had them, but sparingly. I’d lumped the majority of their presence into the very end of book one in order to focus upon my main character, Pony.
It was suggested to either dump Tobias from the book altogether, or award him a better role. You see, Tobias is pivotal to the plot to get a reaction out of Pony. After that, he isn’t seen much, or he’s shoehorned into the background in bit parts.
I think I may have found Tobias’s true purpose–again, I wonder if I would have discovered that sooner if I hadn’t been obsessed with sticking to the rules of a mandated and traditional word count. I’ve yet to reach this scene in the manuscript, but I’m close. And already I’m excited to get to the second round of edits to see how this is all going to turn out.
Back to characters. There are a handful of them in TRAMM that have been dubbed wandering without purpose, or crowding the story. There is a fine line between trying to write realistically, and streamlining a book for clarity. I write in deep layers, and I need certain characters to do certain things. Also, merging some characters into one, or having a character take over another’s part proves very difficult when the scene goes against a character’s nature.
In the case of Green Hat/Jarren, who shows up in an early chapter, the above cannot be done. He cannot be merged with his more tender-hearted brother to cut down on characters. So, I need to delegate poor Jarren to minion status, and show clearly within the story and dialogue, that he’s been benched for his bad behavior. Some would vote for killing off this character, but we’ll see what the cards have in store for him later on down the road. Adjustments to Jarren’s character are rolling out now, but it will take a full reading to make sure it flows properly.
Other characters that are (were) wandering without purpose are:
Summanus — Leader of the centaur bandits. I’d yanked a few of his scenes out of the first draft because of that damn idea I had to stick to a strict word count. I will be adding those scenes back in.
Hendrick/Green Scarf — He gets mixed up with his brother, Jarren/Green Hat. Their descriptors might also be adding to the confusion. I may tweak that in later drafts.
August– Human. Lightfoot employee. I’m blending him a little more into the background.
Cabochon — Another centaur. He requires some special attention.
If I can tweak these characters enough until they’re needed front and center, then I should be good. With that said, it’s time to get back to work!
Until next week, here is chapter three of Through Rain and Missing Mantaurs.