1. Lea`Brooks
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    Lea`Brooks Contributing Member Contributor

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    Opinions on my characters -- should I scrap one?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Lea`Brooks, Apr 15, 2016.

    In my fantasy WIP, I have several characters. They all serve some purpose or another, but I'm starting to feel one in particular doesn't really carry his weight. My MC Seren is a rebellious, angry 19 year old that has very few connections in life. She's shut herself away to avoid the pain and struggle of the harsh world she lives in. But she has become the new queen and needs some help.

    There's Verda, the timid but intelligent maid that brings out the softer side in Seren. She appeals to her inner helper, the side of her that really does care about the well-being of others. Verda pushes Seren to see beyond the fear and move forward, doing everything she can to make life better for those around her. They become very close.

    Then there's Caius. He's the strong rule-abiding soldier, brought into her team to be her guardian, or her protector against enemies. He helps Seren to reign in her rebelliousness. He forces her to think more critically and more thoughtfully instead of rushing headlong into conflict. But sometimes Caius's strong conviction for the rules annoys her, and she wishes he could be more free-flowing and not so judgmental when she goes against his opinions. He also has a romantic interest in her, which is not returned, and causes issues later on in the novel.

    Next is Levon. He's the handsome debonair that bring out... well, a lot in her. He admires her, both because of her physical beauty and her strength. His interest in her makes her feel empowered. She feels he's the first person to really trust her, put his confidence in her, and rely on her. So not only does he make her feel stronger, but he makes her feel softer. He allows her to express herself emotionally without interpreting it as a weakness and to truly open up and be her true self, with no judgment. They become a couple by the end of the novel.

    Echo is a character I need to expand a little more. All I have for her at the moment is that she's intelligent. She shows up early in the story to help train Seren in magical combat and grows to be a friend. But other than to help research and train, she has very little impact on Seren's personality. As of this moment, she kind of piggy-backs on Verda, helping Seren to open up to people and have friendships again. I'm working on it. I definitely want to keep her though because they are already so many men in the story (there are other minor characters, friends and foes, and most of them are men). Plus, Seren needs more than one female companion.

    However, it's Echo's twin brother Ochen I'm struggling with. In the first draft, he was the quiet sulking type. He rarely opened his mouth or added much of anything to the story. He was a body to help train Seren in magic and others in combat. But other than that? Pretty much disappeared. So in my planning for the second draft, I decided that I could use him to help Seren reign in her anger. She tends to explode when upset, not thinking before she speaks. She allows it to control her, often making the situation worse. I had thought that Ochen could also be like that, just learned to control it better. I wanted to have him be the person to teach her to calm down and relax. But the more I work on my characters, the more this seems... forced.

    So what do you think? When is it time to scrap a character? I'm afraid to write the second draft to see if it works with him in it, just to decide it doesn't and have to take him out of everything. But I'm also afraid to take him out and realize I need him later on.. I planned on having him be a larger role in the sequel, because he uses a certain type of magic... But I can really have anyone do that. He isn't the only person with that type of magic (Levon has it too), so it's easily done... I'm just torn. What should I do? :cry:

    Other than that, what do you think of the other characters? :D
     
  2. IHaveNoName
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    IHaveNoName Active Member

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    Echo's lacking a role, and Ochen has a role but doesn't really need it. Why not just combine them? Seems like a combat trainer would be the best person to help Seren (or anyone else) rein their temper - you can't be an effective fighter if you lose your head. It would give her a more important role, too, and better justify her friendship with Seren.
     
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  3. Lea`Brooks
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    Lea`Brooks Contributing Member Contributor

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    :(... You're right. Sometimes you have to kill your darlings, yeah?

    I grew very attached to Echo and Ochen. They've made it through countless reworks and character cuts. They're actually the only original characters from the earliest version. Names are different, but roles were the same. But as soon as I read your post, I got a clear picture of who the new Echo would be, how she'd be introduced, what her personality would be like, and what role she'd play.

    She'd be a woman trying to find her place in the world. Women would look down on her for not being feminine enough and men would despise her for trying to be too manly. She'd be an expert fighter and magic user, trying to prove she's just as capable, if not more so, than the men in the Guard. She'd try to reach out to Seren's team and offer her assistance, but they'd ignore her. So she'd wait outside the castle gates every day, looking for an opportunity to speak to Seren herself. Finally, Seren would ask Caius who she was. He'd make some dismissive comment, but Seren would eventually go out and meet her. Echo would convince her to allow her on the team, and she'd prove to be a valuable asset. She'd also have knowledge of many legends and myths, stories that would help Seren accomplish her goal.

    I don't like getting rid of Ochen and completely changing Echo... But I have to admit this new Echo is better.

    Thank you. :)
     
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  4. AndrewA
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    AndrewA Member

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    Well why not keep Ochen if he means that much, just as a very minor character. Sure it makes sense to have Echo as the main character who does all the training and teaching as IHaveNoName has already stated, but why not have Ochen in role that convinces Seren that Echo's methods actully work. Could give Ochen a speech about how Echo turned him into person he is today, how he used to be 10 times worse than Seren and how good Echo is, a little cliched maybe, but done properly it could give a pivotal moment when Seren actually starts trusting Echo.
     
  5. mrieder79
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    mrieder79 Not a ground squirrel

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    Save a back up of your original then cut Ochen out. See how the story reads without him. If it is better without him, then heave ho, off he goes. I had to drop a character out of my first book even though he had one of the better voices. Great voice, no point. Off with his head!
     
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  6. Lea`Brooks
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    Lea`Brooks Contributing Member Contributor

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    I've actually been thinking about doing it the other way around: having him be the reason Echo is who she is today. I probably won't include him in the first book though. As I'm starting to realize, the other characters cover pretty much every emotion, support, and drive that I need them to. Ochen wouldn't really add much to that. But, there will be a second book. And maybe he could add more there. Since I haven't planned the sequel yet, I don't know for sure. But I could at least leave the door open. Have Echo mention him, give details about how he helped her, but be vague with what happened to him. Then I'll have him in case I need him later, but it's easy enough to ignore if I don't.
     
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  7. Duchess-Yukine-Suoh
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    Duchess-Yukine-Suoh Girl #21 Contributor

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    Not every character has to be integral to your main character. They could be useful to a side character or just an interesting character.
     
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  8. Oscar Leigh
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    Oscar Leigh Contributing Member

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    Every character should matter but characters designed to be tools for the main character's development or to show a side of them are always bad in my opinion. So give them more than they have. As you say, develop them. You should do that with all your character anyway. If you don't have an element of independence in them, I would be worried. So if you can do that with other characters, which I hope you have, then you can do it with these ones.
     

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