1. MagicThoughts
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    MagicThoughts New Member

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    Characters that've been cut out from at least one of your 'stories'.

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by MagicThoughts, May 7, 2013.

    We all have that character that never quite made it!

    Mine was a drunken yob named "Earl Manis" (typical name for a drunk?) Anyway, he never quite seemed to fit in with my main contention, he was always apart of a 'filer' episode type thing. Oh well, here's to Earl!

    I'd love to hear some of yours! :D
     
  2. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    not 'all'... not me, for one...
     
  3. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    I actually cut a major character from my first draft of a novel I'm working on - his name was Malcolm, an artist usually
    commissioned to paint cupids on bathroom ceilings, which he hates. He winds up doing a series of paintings
    for a powerful man based on the myth of Apollo and Hyacinth, becomes obsessed with one of the models and
    tries to contract him for future work. When that doesn't happen, he destroys the paintings in a fit of rage.
    The character, and side plot have all been axed.
     
  4. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    The funny thing is, I usually find myself with too few characters. I focus so much on the main characters that the whole scenario seems unrealistic - it seems like the main characters are the only people in the world. I find myself almost forcing my MCs to go out and meet other people just to establish that there is a population out there. When that happens, I always rethink what's going on, and I usually wind up doing a major rewrite.

    The only time I can remember eliminating a character was in a story about a research expedition to a distant planet. It was obvious to me that the expedition would need at least two medical doctors, but they were both minor characters and always worked together. I wound up combining them into one character. As I think about it now, I wonder if I should have done that. Shakespeare wrote about Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, not Rosenstern.
     
  5. Gallowglass
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    Gallowglass Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't think I've cut anyone. I did scrap the idea of a love interest for one of my main characters (she made it to design stage). But no characters have been in my book and then I've gone 'nope, don't want you.'
     
  6. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    Hmmm...no, can't say that I have. I've had characters whose names I couldn't settle on, but once I've put enough into a character that I've settled on his/her name and given him/her a personality, I stick with them. I have had characters whose roles have been significantly reduced upon editing, but that was mostly in my first novel after I realized I had eclipsed the 400,000 word mark and realized that a lot of it would have to go.
     
  7. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    I actually don't believe I have. New characters show up when they're needed. Most of my stories are character-based and character-driven, so I've got one or two characters in my head that I want to write about and they tell me if there are some other characters in the story. So, I haven't had any that I've had to axe.
     
  8. Yoshiko
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    Yoshiko Contributing Member Contributor

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    I can only think of one major character I've had to cut. She had her own (political) sub-plot that had a large impact on the main plot in the second half of the story - but I felt that even though I liked her that she wouldn't be well-recieved by the target audience (and a quick poll about my six key characters backed up my theory). This story is being published so I made the hard decision of writing her out when it came to the second draft.

    I'll admit she had a place in the first draft, but the story evolved and gradually she became less important. The story flows much better without her contributions, but I do miss her petty arguments with the MC.
     
  9. Youniquee
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    Youniquee (◡‿◡✿) Contributor

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    One of mine was a character named Lauren...she was actually a side character, like her appearance in my novel only lasted a few chapters but it was just to provide a conflict and give my MC his first friend. Lately, since I want to cut down on what happens in my story, I cut out her conflict with another character as I realised the story could do without it.

    I just remembered another one lol A french student I planned to include in...she was meant to be in the first part of the story but then moves back to France...but then I thought...why? So I cut her out to get right into the characters people will actually care about.
     
  10. Ian J.
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    Ian J. Active Member

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    Not so much cut as severely reduced in presence, Harldey Kaimer is a character from my second novel. He was originally going to be the MC, but as I was growing the idea for the story, I realised that he wasn't nearly as interesting as his daughter, Meljo. So I reduced his active part to just the opening and promoted Meljo to be an MC, a task she shares with three other characters (it's part way to being an ensemble cast :) )

    That opening chapter with Harldey is the one I've been using to practise my editing/reworking with my understanding gained at least in part from having joined this forum. Once I've solved a thorny problem with n-body physics and created the calendars for that world, and also done enough critiques here, I'll be posting the chapter here for feedback. Watch this space.
     
  11. Michael O
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    Michael O Contributing Member

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    A couple of drunk rednecks who got the bright idea to get in a boat on a flooded river. Their plan. To motor down to an island formed by flood-water where several cows had been stranded but these cows weren't theirs. Now when is a criminal idea by rednecks ever bright? Oh.....I know......Frigging Never!

    They killed and butcher a couple for the choice cuts and loaded-up the boat. They weren't drunk when they started. But cutting and skinning and hauling will work up a thirst in no time. The boat went from loaded-up to loaded-down with about 300 pounds of beef in a current. Did I mention they were drunk? Rednecks never get in a boat without at least one case of beer. Think it used to be a law in Alabama. Anyways, that last step out of the boat was a doozy on a steep bank.

    But one made it out alive. The boat was found in limbs about 6-feet overhead and upside down when the water receded a few days later. Washed clean of evidence. The body took a few days longer to find. Just a matter of time. Decomposition will float a bloat body free unless of course turtles go hog-wild on it first.

    Man-O-Manischewitz! Pool hall stories never ceased to amaze me. Funny part about cutting these sausage-headed characters out. Why use true stories Sheit......Imagination is better. But never know, might just imagine them right back in. The cool thing about rednecks is that you could even use their real names. They all have shit-for-brains and never read.
     
  12. Andrae Smith
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    Andrae Smith Gone exploring... in the inner realm... Contributor

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    Well, I'm one of those who has. I'm working on a major rewrite and I realized that a lot of characters Just completely lost importance--as did a lot of other things. So I cut out a few inconsequential villains (and their stories), began reimagining some of the minor characters, and thinking about the world they live in. The first section has recognizes the presence of other people in the world, but once the story gets going, it is very quest-centered.

    I just got this feeling that there were plenty of characters, but things had focused in on a few major characters, and the others just seemed to be along for the ride. Now that I think about it, that can really be played upon within the context of the story, but I'm really taking the time to rethink the characters. The story could exist with just 3 characters, but I really prefer to fully think through the lasting roles of the characters as they are all affected and how they affect the MC's growth. I guess in my case, the trouble with my characters comes from the internal trouble that existed within the plot. It was simply poorly planned as were the characters. So I guess my attitude towards my characters is one of, "what story do you have to tell in this?" and "what do you contribute to the MC's story?" If it's nothing and I like the character, then it becomes "what can I do with you?"

    I created a character for the story who has so much depth and promises to take the story to a whole other level... but in the remodeling of the story there is really little room for him... and there are so many possible origins for him. One gives a tragic story to the MC's sister, another can contribute to a larger theme. I love the idea of this character, but placing him into the story really makes things difficult and depends entirely on how I want to craft the story and characters. His role is really one that affects the characters more so than the story itself. He would be a villain, but he would possibly detract from the main villain. He could add to him. :p

    From this, characters are only as valuable as you make them for the story you want to tell, I suppose.
     
  13. Thomas Kitchen
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    Thomas Kitchen Proofreader in the Making Contributor

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    Ditto!
     
  14. T.Trian
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    T.Trian Overly Pompous Bastard Staff Supporter Contributor

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    In a WIP I've been working on with KaTrian, I had six siblings (ages 15-27): a tomboy of a girl and five brothers (also combat-savvy, like their sister). They just never seemed to really sit well in the story, they made the cast too numerous, I couldn't get inside their heads/get a good grasp on their personalities (maybe I bit more than I could chew) etc. Anyhow, I replaced them with a slightly dimwitted warrior (a hair over 20, handsome but too thick to get women, and in love with all things hack'n'slash), and a man-hating female shaman who carries around the ghost of her dead sister. These two proved much more fun to write, and somehow I was able to immediately get a solid grasp on both characters.
     
  15. ProsonicLive
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    ProsonicLive Senior Member

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    I actually cut a character from a book because I could not bring myself to kill him. He was a mentally challenged man who also had asburgers syndrome. He was meant to give an innocent percpective of the world who can Iddentify things of beauty that we often no longer see. He loves his mother very much becuase she had been the only one that ever treated him as a person and she represented all the happy times in his life. and just like those things so beautiful, when forgotten, He dies. His whole life is a parable. but Every time I try to kill him, I cant. It really is too emotional for me. I had first made him a child, but somehow, being in his late 20's made it even more sad because he was able to see the "bad" world and always wanted to escape back to those great days of his childhood. I will kill him one day. But for now, I can not force myself to do it.
     
  16. TerraIncognita
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    TerraIncognita Aggressively Nice Person Contributor

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    I can't recall a character I ever cut. I've had a lot of characters that changed drastically before I got too far into what I was writing but that's about it. I don't like to put all the time and effort into making a character I don't use so I make sure they fit before I go to the trouble. :p
     
  17. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    If I cut a character, I generally do so in the conceptual phases, when I realize the character is unnecessary, or that his or her role can be absorbed into another character. So there really isn't much to say about such a character.
     
  18. T.Trian
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    T.Trian Overly Pompous Bastard Staff Supporter Contributor

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    The latter has happened to me a few times. It's a little annoying if I otherwise liked the character, but what can you do, the story always comes first. Sometimes if a character is original and works well in itself but just doesn't fit the story for one reason or another, I set them aside, and use them later when a story comes along that's a better match.
     
  19. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I cut out Luke, my stable boy turned High Priest of Water turned to dust and dreams :D Basically I just realised he was completely unnecessary. His role in the story could be easily played by the love interest instead. So I removed him - first character I ever "eliminated" and I was heart-broken, even though he wasn't even very well developed (if at all). I wrote a death scene that was completely unrelated to the main story where he got to sacrifice his life for the girl he loves, a girl who would never love him back, just to give myself closure. It didn't feel right otherwise, just to have him vanish, never to be acknowledged. He needed a death, I had to honour him with a death. I cried. And now I don't remember what all the fuss was about :D
     
  20. Michael O
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    Michael O Contributing Member

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    Length permitting......You could kill that sucker off. Always good to read bad guys killing each other. Some things just need killing. Maybe a good guy pitting bad guys against each other and the peon turd-ling gets snuffed. Then have it come down to a mano-e-mano cage brawl.
     
  21. Michael O
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    Michael O Contributing Member

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    Sling Blade-ish?

    Can't sharpen a lawnmower blade without that coming to mind.
     
  22. Andrae Smith
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    Andrae Smith Gone exploring... in the inner realm... Contributor

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    Ha ha that's not a bad idea. The main villain is the evil alter ego of the first MC and his soul ends up merging with the new MC's (the MC's apprentice). The new villain in question is the forcefully "adopted" son of the main villain. It could do a lot for the story thematically depending on how I introduce this character, but the story can already go to well without it. This character is one of those things that can really take it to the next level in character arcs. But I would really have to extend the story. I'll just make a decision soon and get going. And I'll write the story as long as it needs to be. Even if I only get like 3 friends as readers I'll be okay. I just want to see the many versions of this story that exist in my mind coalesce onto the page.
     

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