Oh my darling, oh my darling, oh my darling Grackeltine… Time to die.
I’m sure many of you have heard that adage about darlings and murder. I’ve found that I’m not so good at saying the fancy stuff, so this is not a big issue for me; however, early on in the revision process for TALKER 25, I did have to drop the ax on my favorite non-MC (the favorite of many of my early readers, too).
Grackel was my Gandalf/Dumbledore in dragon form.
Lot’s of pain there. I mean, this ornery Red kicked some major writing tuchus, in my not so humble opinion. Took me a couple gos to realize she didn’t kick it the right way.
Monday, Laurie discussed how stories allow us to connect with ideas and people, how they afford us the chance to broaden our scope of understanding. Emotional truth conveyed by your characters is the heart of the book. The plot’s the skeleton that moves you toward discovery of that truth. Grackel was the lungs to my heart, but she was also a third leg who wanted to walk the opposite direction. We ended up going in this pretty little circle.
The question is, how do you know when to kill your dragons? For me, it came down to screen time. In my first draft, Grackel played a heavy component in the latter half, but that’s the half that needed changing. I’d established her character early on, but her awesomeness lost relevance given the course correct on the back side.
Don’t waste your awesome characters. Hold ’em like X’s in Words With Friends until you can double up on a Triple Letter. Maybe they fit into the next story. Maybe they get their own somewhere down the road. Maybe they make it into your epilogue and come shining through in the TALKER 25 sequel (where she’s even awesomer than before).
Have you ever had to eliminate a favorite character? What convinced you to do it? How did you cope?