1. heyharris1
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    heyharris1 Senior Member

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    how much detail on a part time character.

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by heyharris1, Oct 7, 2007.

    I got a character in my novel that is only there in one chapter. how much detail should i put in. All i basically said was that she was this other character's wife. is that good enough or should i go into more detail. it just seemed like alot for a 1one chapter character.
    it actually went like this.

    Before Bill could knock twice, Debbie had the door open. Visible streaks from the tears glissened from the front porch light." Debbie, we need to talk"

    is that a good enough discription.
     
  2. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    There is such a thing as a stock character that authors often use. A character that the reader will quickly recognize and the author does not need to spend much time on describing. They usually play bit parts that the main characters casually or in passing interact with.

    Examples: the old lady librarian, the dumb jock, the nerdy math teacher.

    It sounds like the character you're describing is a step more important than a stock character, but if readers know the 'other character', they might already have a vision for his wife, and adding just a line here and there is enough.

    The trick, I think, is to work it into the text, like you did in your example. In the end, the question to ask is, Why should a reader invest knowing much about this chracter if she isn't really important to the action, other than propelling the plot forward in some small way in an early chapter?

    More can always be added if she becomes more important later (or visa versa) in editing and revsion.

    Hope this helps.

    Terry
     
  3. heyharris1
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    heyharris1 Senior Member

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    i think your right, i will probably just let it ride right now, im still writing the rough draft, i will just add more if i think it is needed.
    thank you
    jim
     
  4. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    you should put in as much detail as the story requires... that depends on what we need to know about this character, to make her appearance and actions make sense... what you give as an example, aside from the grammar and spelling goofs, isn't a description at all... especially since you say 'the' tears, so we don't know whose they are... they could just as easily be bill's, as debbie's...
     
  5. heyharris1
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    heyharris1 Senior Member

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    your right, i will change it to be more specific, you find out earlier in the chapter, that bill is going to see debbie. When he gets there, she crying. they have a conversation, he leaves. thats all there is to it.
    jim
     
  6. Scavenger
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    Scavenger Senior Member

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    Okay, so this is the only chapter in which Debbie makes an appearance. However, does she have a lasting impact or influence on Bill throughout the rest of the piece? If that's so, then you need to go into more detail about her. This does not mean describingher physically, necessarily, but you need to go in depth with her relationship with Bill, the causes of it, and the causes of its end if it ends, and then make references to her throughout the rest of the piece as needed.
     
  7. EyezForYou
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    EyezForYou Active Member

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    I have no problem with those two sentences and a dialogue. It's wonderful.

    You just need to capture my interest in the next five thousand.

    Maybe Debbie is pregnant--and just killed the fetus herself. Imagine that.
     
  8. heyharris1
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    heyharris1 Senior Member

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    actually, when bill goes to talk to debbie, he is just trying to find out where her husband is, she crying because she tells him that he is at a sleezy motel and has been cheating on her. thats her only role.
     
  9. EyezForYou
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    EyezForYou Active Member

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    Well then, have Debbie kill Bill with a .22, and dispose of his body in her backyard.
     
  10. heyharris1
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    heyharris1 Senior Member

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    haha, nice
     

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