Back in November, I wrote about the perils of naming a walk-on character in the fourth draft of my current WIP. One of my protagonists had walked into a cafe and started chatting to the owner. It's very unusual for me to actually want to write heterosexual romances into my novel drafts but these two just clicked. So I began hastily thinking about rewriting that protagonist's arc a little bit. Fine. It was going to be tricky but I could do it.
But something else was niggling. My other protagonist becomes embroiled in a fling halfway through the novel that doesn't add much that couldn't be taken on by another character. The more I thought about it, the more I had to concede that my novel was operating a one-in one-out policy of its own accord and I'd be foolish to argue. For all the good reasons it threw at me to bring in Ed, there were correspondingly sound ones to remove Selina.
This character extraction is proving a little trickier. I've been working from a heavily marked-up third draft with notes that are now completely obsolete as I rewrite entire scenes from scratch. To combat that sensation of being adrift, I've created a chapter check list about what needs to be added/removed in each chapter. Once the fourth draft is done some earlier chapters will need ironing out to remove stuff that's now irrelevant. Yet it's all perfectly doable.
The fourth draft's currently at 31,170 words and I'm making slow and steady progress. I'm labouring under the assumption that the novel knows what it's doing. Let's hang onto that for as long as possible, shall we?
And the good news? At least I'm writing again.