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Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Peril of Naming a Walk-On Character

I've written a bit recently about attacking the fourth draft of my WIP 'Max' (by recently, I mean Friday!). Funny how just when you think you're on track with a project it decides to surprise you all over again. You see, this one follows a mother and a daughter (from the perspective of the daughter and the mother's lover) and I'd pretty much accepted the fact that the interactions that needed fixing in this draft were the ones involving the lover. Apparently not.

I was in my writing haunt yesterday afternoon warming through with caffeine and clutching my editing rock for inspiration (don't ask) while I was reading the detailed notes for the rewrite of chapter eight. The location needed to have greater significance so I began wondering why my character chose that cafe out of all the others and a waiter trots into the scene. Fine, I thought, let's give him a name. Big mistake.

As soon as I named him and he started talking to my viewpoint character, I liked him. Disaster. The love interest for this character is a little bit square and boring and, ultimately, they don't end up together. But this guy... Well, he comes from a completely different background, he's cheeky and he has connections with her past that the other lad doesn't understand. In short, he's perfect for her and, what's more, it fits the overall narrative of the parallel plot of the mother.

Now, I may be stuffing a new character into my novel for no reason. I may have to extract him from the fifth draft with tweezers. However, I think it's definitely worth a shot. It's going to mean some exceedingly careful consideration of the rest of the novel. To be fair, though, that was already necessary anyway. The extensive notes I marked up for the fourth draft aren't obsolete as much as complementary to the notes I'm keeping in my head about new directions and backgrounds. What I really need is to get this written down. And, in the meantime, Ed's here to stay. As is my editing rock.

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