CC101 – Discussion Question 2

Writers, if you axe a character from a story, can you “save” him for another story?  Can you see your characters as interchangable in some fashion?

I really struggle with this myself.  So much of a character is tied to the story I’m trying to tell.  If I use a character to prove theme A and then cut him and want to use him in a different story, I have to totally rethink the theme and what I’m trying to say.  The characters get so strongly lodged in my mind–tied to their story–that to make significant changes to the character, I basically have to kill him.  I did this with Shannari between drafts 2 and 3 of Rose.  I murdered her and started over again, and ooooh, boy, was it hard to wrap my head around.

How about you?

4 thoughts on “CC101 – Discussion Question 2

  1. I’ve never had to. I don’t know how I’d manage it; I agree it’s so ingrained within the story for me I don’t know if I could interchange anybody….

  2. I don’t know either. I’ve never done it for real, although I have thought seriously about axeing at least one character from Novel #1… not totally though, just his storyline… That’s a tough one. I don’t know that I could really recycle a character in completely different story. Seems like they would be too attached to the story they came from.

  3. I think if I tried hard enough, I could do it. But it would be horridly painful and I’d probably end up making it seem “forced”. I don’t do very good with “forced”. In fact, I pretty much despise “forced” both as a reader and a writer.

  4. I have a handful of characters who got axed and saved…largely because I think they were the product of my mind going after sexy next book–except that instead of starting sexy next book, I just threw a random new character in to the current WIP and let him run amok for a hundred pages or so before coming to my senses. Those I could axe and put in a file to pull out later. Now that I’m looking so much more at craft and cutting out deadwood and dealing with GMC, I don’t know. I’m trying not to have anyone in my current WIP who doesn’t actively contribute to the forward motion of the plot. If I had some kind of fully integrated character that I wound up having to cut, I’m not sure I’d be able to bring him or her back without radical changes. Except maybe as a sequel that takes place in the same world maybe.

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