Create a Character that Counts
Stories are about characters who are involved with each other in conflict. Often in revising, it’s important to look carefully at each characters and ask hard questions:
- Does this character contribute to the conflict and resolution?
- What is this character’s role in the story?
- What is this character’s function in the story?
If you find one or more weak characters, what do you do about them as you revise?
Dealing with Weak Characters
Each character should contribute to the story in some way. Sometimes, characters are just fillers or place holders and don’t really contribute. If you totally cut this character from the story, would it substantially change the story?
Can you combine this character with another character? By putting more than one function/role into a character, it’s possible to create a more interesting character. If you have two best friends, can you combine them into one?
If the character’s role and function are necessary to the story and you can’t combine the character with another, then you must enrich this character. It’s back to the drawing board.
There’s no right or wrong number of characters for a story. What you want are characters that count.
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