1. Sackninja
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    Sackninja Member

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    Bringing in a new characters 30000 words in?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Sackninja, Nov 18, 2012.

    I was about to put this in Character development but it has nothing to do with development so I put it in here. So I've reached a point where the main characters have nothing left to do but wait. So I've got a new character filling the down time in the story. At the end of the section on this character he will end up where the main characters are and it will continue from there.

    The thing is it's 30000 words into the story. Is this too late to introduce a new character in the story who is ultimately going to die anyway. He's not entirely necessary as his role in the story could be filled by an existing character but still he would fit best. Should I keep this character or is it too late in the book to introduce someone new?

    The other thing it would help with is word count which would be very good for me seeing as it's for nanowirmo. Any thoughts on the matter? It would be padding but I think it would help the story a small bit. Should I introduce him?
     
  2. Selbbin
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    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

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    Padding. Help the story a small bit. Main character just has to wait?

    Sounds like you don't need a new character, sounds like the 'wait' needs to be shortened. If there is enough plot for the MC to wait then you don't need the new character. If there isn't, then skip the wait.

    Padding = boring.
     
  3. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    You said this is for nanowrimo. Anything goes in that case - just get to 50k words! How about having a sudden invasion by an alien race of talking cats who are after Earth's secret stash of unreleased James Brown recordings? Or you could have your MC suddenly take up ballroom dancing and defeat Russian president Vladimir Putin in a televised dance-off. Or the entire Cleveland Browns football team could suddenly propose en masse to your main character's sister, resulting in a gigantic and athletic mass wedding scene, along with a profusion of demanding mothers-in-law.

    It's nanowrimo - who cares what happens?
     
  4. Show
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    Show Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't think that is too late to introduce a new character. I've done it several times.(I've probably done it even 50-60K into the novel, maybe more. lol) But I don't know if your reasons for doing so are best.
     
  5. captain kate
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    captain kate Active Member

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    It can be done that far into the novel, I did that, originally to set something up for the climax, until something massive about the overall world and series arc come into being, and it made sense for the character to show up for sure.
     
  6. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't think there's necessarily a problem with introducing a new character at that point in the word count, but I do think there is a problem with why you want to introduce him/her. It's hard enough to cut out extraneous passages that don't develop the character or advance the plot, so why intentionally put them in?

    If you need to wait for time to pass because the characters have set certain events in motion that need to happen, then just use a chapter or section break and indicate that time has passed. I don't completely understand why you need to add in another character or subplot merely to take up space/time.
     
  7. Thumpalumpacus
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    Thumpalumpacus Contributing Member

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    Yeah, I don't like the idea of padding.
     
  8. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Padding is for bras and for protective sports gear. And even in bras it's a waste.
     
  9. Sackninja
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    Sackninja Member

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    I knew I shouldn't have mentioned padding. The role he would play in the story is required in the story but could technically be filled with another character. The padding would be more a side effect of having to introduce the character.
     
  10. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    If it could be filled by another character, then why do you want to add a new character? And if adding the new character is actually essential to your plot, then why are you even asking us? You would know already whether it is good or bad - if it is essential, of course you should put the character in! The fact that you're asking means it is not essential, and we know what we do to anything that's non-essential in a novel!

    It's got nothing to do with the reaction you received to the word "padding". Even if you had not mentioned "padding", it would still be padding and I do think the writers on here would've sniffed it out.

    Btw it is not introducing a new character in itself that makes something "padding" - that is not padding. It is in introducing something or someone that is there only to lengthen your novel - if the only purpose for it is word count and it is actually not needed, then it is padding.
     
  11. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    "Technically" almost any role or action could be filled by another character. Usually when people are asking whether a certain role really needs to be filled by a particular character, and they ponder whether a different character could play that role, it is because they either have too many characters and need to take some out because they are confusing and not well-distinguished from each other, or the writer is discovering that they can't develop the character as fully as they should and are considering simply eliminating him, but want to figure out whether one of the other characters they already have could fulfill the purpose of that character.

    I don't know if either of those are the case here, but in your original question, you state that the character isn't really necessary and then go on to mention that one of your motivations for introducing him is to increase your word count, and that you are at somewhat of an impasse with respect to your plot and other characters. That's what people are responding to. If the character is necessary, or makes the story better, put him in. If he doesn't do much for the story, leave him out. Only you can answer that question. Word count should not play into it. And if your plot is at a standstill, figure out why.
     
  12. psychotick
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    psychotick Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi,

    In my view its not the when you add him, but the nature of the character that's the issue. Is he a main character? Or is he just an observer type not really important to the plot type character. Having just had (and she's still going) my sister ripping through my current novel as she edits, I can attest to this problem, as several of my characters who I thought were there purely to advance the plot, being slammed as MC's with no introduction, build up or warning, I'm a little sensitive to the thought. Having had to write three more chapters just to make them complete entities, maybe a little too sensitive.

    You have to treat your characters with some respect, and decide from the outset whether they are MC's or just plot tellers. If they're plot tellers, winnow them back. Readers don't need to hear much of their inner dialogue or life story, as in my sister's case it'll just confuse them. If on the other hand they are MC's then they need to be given a complete life story and inner dialogue etc, not just dropped on the reader for a single chapter unexpectedly.

    Also, and many people have objected to this in this forum and others, don't make them a deus ex machina type character. You know the one that turns up right at the end with no warning to save the day. A final chapter get out of jail free character who was never even foreshadowed. They can be fun if well written, but they can also completely destroy the plot as the reader starts to wonder what the hell the rest of the book was about.

    Cheers, Greg.
     
  13. psychotick
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    psychotick Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi,

    In my view its not the when you add him, but the nature of the character that's the issue. Is he a main character? Or is he just an observer type not really important to the plot type character. Having just had (and she's still going) my sister ripping through my current novel as she edits, I can attest to this problem, as several of my characters who I thought were there purely to advance the plot, being slammed as MC's with no introduction, build up or warning, I'm a little sensitive to the thought. Having had to write three more chapters just to make them complete entities, maybe a little too sensitive.

    You have to treat your characters with some respect, and decide from the outset whether they are MC's or just plot tellers. If they're plot tellers, winnow them back. Readers don't need to hear much of their inner dialogue or life story, as in my sister's case it'll just confuse them. If on the other hand they are MC's then they need to be given a complete life story and inner dialogue etc, not just dropped on the reader for a single chapter unexpectedly.

    Also, and many people have objected to this in this forum and others, don't make them a deus ex machina type character. You know the one that turns up right at the end with no warning to save the day. A final chapter get out of jail free character who was never even foreshadowed. They can be fun if well written, but they can also completely destroy the plot as the reader starts to wonder what the hell the rest of the book was about.

    Cheers, Greg.
     
  14. SuperVenom
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    SuperVenom Contributing Member

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    Is it possible to go back through the 30,000 pages and try and place in just a hint of the character so it's not such a sudden appearance? Plus characters come and go all the time, your MC wouldn't know or meet everyone in the the first scene. I would just say make the character substantial so it doesn't look like he/she has just been placed. Build don't pad.
     
  15. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Characters are introduced in novels at the beginning, middle and even sometimes near the end. It all depends on the story.

    There is no reason for the reader to wait along with the main characters for the plot to advance. Just advance the time frame for the next scene so that the 'waiting time' has passed. Actions, dialogue, scene change/setting can easily make the reader aware of this shift.
     
  16. Grimga
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    Grimga New Member

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    You can start a new chapter and introduce the new character. Works the best.
     

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