2014-11-18

On Writing: Adding a Character

I've found that adding a new character can solve all kinds of narrative and flow-of-idea problems and get things going again.  More on this below.
This morning I added a character: Detective Yumi Ohashi.  She's going to take on a couple of narrative functions in my manuscript:
  1. do the assiduous detail work that brings the police out of the weeds into almost having a suspect list
  2. be the one who "disappears" when trying to make first contact with the Bad Guys
This provides multiple benefits to the main character (Boro Goto):
  1. He's justifying Ohashi's outlays and staffing demands to their captain, not his own, simplyfing that dialog
  2. Ohashi is slightly junior and yet a peer so she has to entertain Goto's wild theories, and even if she doesn't fully understand them the story works and she can play her part, and can discuss the relevant facts with him
  3. All the much-needed dirty work is done by somebody else (a major supporting character), so the main character can still be a Hot Mess if he needs to and not compromise those explanatory details
  4. The main character doesn't have to be the first to confront the Bad Guys (which could require narrative gymnastics)
  5. Ohashi can be seriously working, without conflict, to be trying to prove Goto's theories WRONG so they can move on
  6. Ohashi can be on a totally different fear level to Goto and so we can have "No! don't open that door, Yumi!" dynamics
Anyway, I have found that it's often easier to spin off new characters in new scenes or, as above, to take over part of the narrative burden, and then combine them together or even fold them back into the main character later than it is to try to write the main character doing everything. I suppose I should tell you WHEN I think it's a good idea to do this, i.e., spin off as opposed to make the protagonist take it all on, but I'm not sure if I have that clearly defined.  Basically, if it's EASIER to just make up some new character in a scene where it doesn't matter, just go for it.
  1. just for yucks you can decide to use some character you made up in a random other scene in your current scene
  2. you can always split them into two characters later
  3. Re-using characters like this can lead to more interesting characters who can even turn in to major characters, i.e, they have more backstory, just automatically
  4. folding characters (back) together can have the same effect, i.e., making fewer more interesting characters in an organic process
  5. you can fold minor characters' story threads back into your main character later, but it may make MORE SENSE (be easier to write) by splitting off a separate character NOW (don't be afraid to do this).
That's my two cents on creating and messing around with characters and how it can make writing easier (for me).  I've been writing like a maniac since this morning and it's all thanks to Detective Yumi Ohashi (and may be partly due to the fact that I AM a maniac...).
If you have any questions or comments, fire away. Also, we have a write-in tonight at One World Cafe and we can all chat then.

0 件のコメント:

コメントを投稿