The Problem with Patricia
My story has a lot of characters in it. One of the big problems I'm facing is that the bulk of them enter the story AFTER the mid-point. That doesn't leave me a lot of time to give each one enough exposure to the reader. I'm facing a real stickler here. She's a character I really like named Patricia Armstrong.
Now, if you follow the Five-Man Band formula (not to the T) you can extract roles for people within the narrative. Now, of course, I've set up the roles the characters all play within their respective groups. Their rank, their specialty, their history in most cases, but this character, Patricia, seems to have trouble fitting in.
There is a second group in The Paladin with whom Jonathan meets up. They have significantly more members than his group, something which, logically, makes sense within the world. You wouldn't expect a police department to be run with three officers, right (Unless you're in Gaines Township, MI)? So logically, the group has a proper amount of people. For the narrative, however, there's just one or two too many to properly expound upon and the person most likely to get the ax is Patricia.
Let's examine her: She's around 5'10, very physically fit, is a strong striker, and specializes in fighting "freaks," the in world term for vampires, werewolves, and creatures of that nature. She even knows some interesting techniques for playing with spiritual energy that none of her comrades use. But from a narrative perspective, she doesn't fulfill a particular role.
In the Five-Man Band, you typically have The Leader (Jeremiah,) The Lancer (Samantha,) The Smart One (Ashley,) and The Chick / The Heart (Juliet.) This leaves me with three more paladins, but only one more basic role: The Big Guy. At first glance, she's a shoo-in, but there's also another person who could just as easily fill the role AND has more personality. Luis Rodriguez. He's anti-freak, he's a former boxer, he's Puerto Rican, and he's a classic television buff. He's fun. My beta readers seem to remember him much better than Patricia. Okay, so I keep Luis and Patricia is extra. No big deal, right? That's where Zack comes in.
Zackary Minx, for no particular reason, seems to stand out to my readers. I honestly don't know what it is. He's kind of a slacker, he's technically a spiritualist, but his parish doesn't ever acknowledge it, and beyond that, he's pretty forgetable, to me anyway. The readers seem to attach to him, though. I think it might be because I've paired him up with Luis so often. It's always Zack and Luis. I wonder if Patricia not having a real friend, a companion to compliment her, is what makes her fade in my beta readers...
Obviously, I can keep her around. There's no reason to force her out, but a good author doesn't waste words. Sometimes you have to combine two characters. Sometimes you have just plain delete one. But... I don't wanna! I like Patricia. I'm looking at adding more to her character, but everyone else's quirks have come naturally. Trying to assign stuff to Patrica randomly has felt forced.
I'm not sure what I'm going to do, but I promise I will figure it out. Word count absolutely has to go down and, if things get hairy, she might have to go. But I'm not deleting her without a fight. I will figure out this problem with Patricia.
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Keep your eyes open for my debut novel, The Paladin.