As I'm reviewing my manuscript and trying to expand a bit more on Jonathan's feelings, I've noticed that... I have a lot of characters. Now, this isn't like I have Romance of the Three Kingdoms level of characters (a classical Chinese novel from forever ago with 800,000 words and nearly 1000 characters. Yes I love it... ) but in going through the manuscript, I certainly have a healthy roster. This comes with its own problem: I have to make sure all the characters (or at least those important to the plot) have their character expounded upon.
It becomes a bit of a balancing act trying to make sure that I include enough information about each of them. Many of them have their own little side plots and I have to make sure there's a satisfactory conclusion to them. So how much do I need to focus on this? I mean, first and foremost comes Jonathan, right? He's the protagonist, so I have to make sure he's fleshed out and has a satisfying conclusion to his arc, yet at the same time, what about Giz? Reagan? Taylor? Simon? All the others?
It's a completely different feeling looking at this during editing than writing. Writing was easy. All I had to do was spit all the mind gunk boiling around my gnoggin onto the page. Editing... now I've got to make it make sense! I might be a little hard on myself. I promise my writing is coherent and entertaining, but any decent writer is going to look on their own work with skepticism. And during the editing phase, that is magnified ten fold.
I have betas pointing out minor flaws that I'm blowing up into plot ending failures on my behalf, thoughtful suggestions that I'm turning into career ending criticisms. It's mentally exhausting. And on top of all of it, I have people asking "What about so-and-so?" What about them? Was it not apparent that they lived happily ever after and went to live in Cabo? Didn't you figure out that they were secretly a government sanctioned milk-man tasked with ending the internet as we know it? (Those... those aren't actual things. I really hope you knew that.) Point is, I'm seeing that, while it was clear in my head, I spent a lot of time on one section of the novel and forgot to make it clear what was going on with some of the side characters. Sometimes the relationships between two characters is misinterpreted. Sometimes their motivations aren't clear. In any case, it's all stuff that I need to clean up.
So what about you guys? Ever have issues balancing like this? Let me know, I'd love to hear from you.
Leave a Reply.
Keep your eyes open for my debut novel, The Paladin.