I’m trapped in revisions. Help! Because… there’s unnecessary characters. Lots of them. Supernumeraries on every page. Each sentence, even.

That’s the problem with craft books. Yeah, I’m going to blame it on the people trying to help me. I start reading their books, and blammo, I find something else that needs fixin’. This time, I’m going through the pre-planning plot structure and Miss 10 K (Rachel Aaron. I’m very impressed by her, actually) says, and I paraphrase, “consider whether a character is necessary for the story. If you remove a character, will the outcome be the same? Different? Are they necessary?”

6b52ef4499bfd5b2d6a04ab47dbcd695
This guy is totally necessary for the story, otherwise, there’s no conflict when you go to bed. You ARE going to go to bed, yes? Don’t look, I hear he gets annoyed by bright lights and he has sharp teeth.

STOP READING CRAFT BOOKS, you say. As if your screen can hear you. Harrumph. But the point is that what’s read can’t be unread, although I can certainly forget most of the important things by the next time I’m writing, which might be in fifteen minutes. In this case, I got to thinking, like you do. What are my characters? I have 9 marines, 3 navy guys, 4 cops, and a bunch of other people they run into. And sometimes herding the 12 people around from scene to scene is unwieldy.

The characters necessary for the story are the fireteam, which is only four of the marines. Those other guys… I might just do some revisions where they don’t make it past the crash. But that’s a substantial re-write, and all the subsequent scenes would need a lot of editing, and we’re lookin’ at hours of time. If I’m typing 1500 words per hour, that’s like 4500 words I won’t be typing while I dinker around with removing 3-5 characters with a little writer scalpel.

However, if you’re reading this magnificent thing in the future, and you notice guys dying off at about word 31900…

star-trek-nodding
Yeah, I’ll prime directive you with my photon torpedos

Let’s just say stuff happens. You gotta get rid of all these extras clogging the scenes, demanding arcs, demanding lines, cracking wisely, and hogging the limelight.

limelight_diagram-svg
This is how a limelight works. You were wondering, now you know. A little O2, a little H, and throw in some Calcium Oxide, and boom, you have a limelight. Now, I gotta rant for a moment. I type in a search for “limelight” in Google Images, and a few pages down, there’s a poster for “Twerk Thursdays,”and some gal’s butt, which presumably is twerking on Thursdays or something. *blink* The print on the poster says something about limelight, so that’s why it’s there, but it seems a pretty loose connection. Everyone else has images of limes with lights. Why, Google, Why??

Do I cut, or run? Yes, yes, I hear you. Write the new stuff. Don’t cut anyone if you don’t have to. Enough with the revisions, already, get to work.

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