1. Link the Writer

    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

    Sep 24, 2009
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    Alabama, USA

    How do you know when you need to shelve or toss a character?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Link the Writer, Feb 27, 2013.

    OK, so basically, there's this character in my sci-fi that I keep mulling about in my head. She is a radio operator aboard a spaceship (not Helen's ship, another ship), and she can be seen by other characters to be borderline, "LOOK AT ME! LOOK AT ME! ARE I NOT COOL AND SOOOO AMAZING!?"

    But I'm afraid she's turning into this super-perfect character, and half the time, she's trying to make it so the whole plot actually revolves around her, and not Helen, when she's just one of the secondary characters at best. She's just too self-centered for my tastes, she reminds me of a female Wesley from Star Trek: The Next Generation, where everyone seems to like her, and she always has these brilliant ideas that saves the day. Absolutely no one but one admiral dislikes her, which is...a bit unrealistic, and to be honest, I think I created her only because I thought it'd be cool if a teenager went around kicking alien butt with Helen and co.

    I'm considering removing her from the sci-fi story all together, but I'm wondering, does she seem like a character that just needs to be shelved until I can come up with a story that actually fits her, and makes sense for her and presents a good character arc for her? Or should she be considered a 'tossed' character, never again to appear in any future story?

  2. Xatron

    Xatron New Member

    Jan 30, 2013
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    You don't have to "like" all your characters. The purpose of some characters is in fact to be unlikeable. It creates a contrast with the main character. Now, if you overuse said character and from a secondary character she becomes a primary, then you might have a problem. Just try to keep her involvement in your main plotline as restricted as possible. And don't make her "too perfect" as you said. 9/10 characters that project this "look at me, i am the best" aura tend to be not as good as they think.
  3. Mckk

    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

    Dec 30, 2010
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    She sounds annoying just by your brief description here - I'd probably stop reading the book altogether if she took too much limelight. It is intolerably irritating when there's a character that you, the reader, hates while everyone else in the book seems to worship. If she's actually a genius, she could be forgiven sometimes, but generally she sounds like a bad character. Does she have some purpose in the story? If not, then your answer is clear - delete.

    As for shelving, well, why do you need to make a decision now? Put her on the shelf and if anything ever comes up and fits her, what's to stop you from reviving her? If nothing comes up, what's to stop you from forgetting about her? It's not like you make a decision now and forevermore you must stick with it til the day you die. So, considering that, I find the question er... a little pointless :D The only thing you need to know is if the character should be in this current book. And if she does not serve the plot or character development of others in some way, then she's not necessary - and unnecessary characters should be deleted.

    And one way of controlling your characters is simply changing the events. If you don't wanna delete her, is there something you could change so she fits better?
  4. DeathandGrim

    DeathandGrim Senior Member

    Dec 28, 2012
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    Virginia Beach
    You'll know when to shelve or remove a character when their role in the story begins to make less and less sense OR just doesn't mesh

    I've got a ton of characters who have been removed from their original roles and had to be changes something here and there to fit the story changes. What you should do is look at the story and ask yourself "Can the story be the absolute same without her presence?" If the answer is yes then you might have to shelve her until you can come up with a semi meaningful way for her to affect the story or a way for the story affect and change her

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