Thursday, May 19, 2016

The Editor's Note: Too Many Characters!

So...I get the manuscript review back on Book #2...right? And the editor basically says, "I love the idea and the quality of writing is high."

Gush, gush. go on.
"I won't focus on the good here, since..."

Wait, what?

" pay me to critique what needs to be reworked."

Yeah, yeah. Stuff needs to be done. I get it. The hardest thing for me to get my mind around is her suggestion that I cut some of my secondary characters. There is no Band Aid for that kind of pain. I'm  writing about a motorcycle club and each character has been molded from the floor up. I know these people! She wants me to cut three club members and whittle my rival villains from four to two.

I'm having a hard time getting my mind wrapped around this since each character has a place and an action in the story. I don't want to dismiss her suggestion out of hand (I paid money for it)...but how many is too many?

Time to make a list:

1.) I need to review Donald Maass' workbook. There's an exercise called Enriching Your Cast/Combining Roles on pages 73-76.

2.) I searched the NaNoWriMo forum to see what other advice writers offered and liked what kashmirgirl1976 had to say:

"As long as you can handle them, go for as many as you can. You can always divide them into categories: Major, minor, peripheral... Just make sure they add something. If not, wipe them out."

This was from pennamechris:

"You still might [need the characters] for the sake of impact, clues, or other plot element[s] you absolutely can't show another way without having issues."

3.) Set aside a day to read the entire manuscript in one sitting. Create a spreadsheet on where the characters are and what they're up to.

4.) I'll make whatever changes to characters I can...perhaps combining a couple, then have my beta readers give me their input. Did they feel bombarded by the characters? Did they have trouble keeping them straight? No comment?

5.) Go back to reading You are a Badass by Jen Sincero.


"The problem is not the problem. It's your attitude about the problem. Do you understand?" ~ Captain Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean 

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