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Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Boo!

Today is Halloween! Or in Mesoamerica, the Day of the Dead.

A friend of mine went to a party last weekend and claims she saw someone with a costume that trumped all other costumes.

The guy came in wearing nothing but a sock on his, um…you know. I am not posting the pictures. You will have to take my word on it.

High marks for originality and daring. But I think if he was going to wear a sock, the least he could have done was give his "sock puppet" a face. Either that or change it out for a large leaf, so he could go as Adam.

I'm more interested in knowing what compelled him to do such a thing. The guy had chutzpah though. I'll give him that.

*****

On writing: I've been working on my new wip---which tragically, still doesn't have a title yet. What's up with that?

I discovered I had to go back to the beginning and delete a character. I liked the guy but his role was redundant. I opted to give one of the secondary characters a meatier role by combining his character with the other guy. It changed a few of the relationship dynamics, but in the end I think it made the story tighter.

In my case, this deleted character was the mc's twin, the protective male twin. There was some great dialog between brother and sister, which I hated to lose. But the upshot was that by replacing the brother with the other secondary figure, I created a fresher (and more unique) relationship between the mc and this character.

As I molded this new relationship, the secondary character became more crucial to the plot. In the earlier setting, both secondary characters fought for the spotlight when they were with the mc. Now, only one takes center stage and the reader remains focused on a relationship that is familial yet contentious enough to give the mc a very nice internal conflict. I like the complexity of that kind of bond. It feels fuller and more interesting.

If you find yourself in an unwieldy scene with too many talking heads or your reviewers tell you they can't keep track of your characters from scene to scene, consider combining characters where possible.

I used to think I had to load the scene with a lot of characters in order to give it a full feeling in big ensemble stories, but I've discovered that unless the characters are pivotal, it becomes cumbersome to juggle that many walk-ons. A story feels full when the individual characters are rich and multilayered. Quality as opposed to quantity.

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