A couple of days ago I shared a writing dilemma I was trying to sort out – whether I should ‘kill’ a particular character – who is being stalked, or whether he should just disappear for a while (maybe kidnapped, maybe trapped somewhere by accident, maybe deliberately taken ‘time out’) or whether the character should exit the story altogether and go back to the green room and wait to make an entrance onto another stage – i.e. another story altogether.
The particular character is Darius, who I have written about quit a few times already, a character waiting fr a story… so what could have happened to him?
- kidnapped – in my previous novel ‘Earthquake’, a character had disappeared man it turned out he was being held against his will, so I definitely didn’t want to have this character ‘disappear’ in that way
- trapped – no, that just wouldn’t fit in with the rest of the story; he wasn’t a pot-holer, he wasn’t trying to investigate his own mystery, he wouldn’t have gone out walking and fallen down a cliff or into the sea (although maybe in a future story that could happen to someone!)
- if he was taking time out, it would be either without telling anyone – which would conflict with a different story-line, or he had told people in which case he wouldn’t actually be ‘missing’
I didn’t want to take the character out of the story altogether because then I would have to unpick the whole stalker story-line – I have done that before in another novel, and it is still an option, but it’s quite complicated to check there are no passing references to that person or the situation he’s in… also the final scene in which he appears, he is actually dead, murdered!
When I last wrote about this, I had an idea – I would keep the plot line, but change the character, so Darius has now become Fergus (called Fergs by his friends and colleagues) and the original is back, waiting in the wings for his own story – in which, I think, Darius may be the main character.
So now with my new missing character, Fergs, because he has a different personality – he’s nerdy, introspective, weedy, maybe a little eccentric – it has thrown a completely different light on that plot-line. The original missing person, Darius, was good-looking, a strong but repressed personality, depressed about some unspoken issue, but with a definite quite strong character if only he could get over whatever was troubling him. This means the nature of the stalker has to change – the stalker would feel differently about a strong silent type than they would about a needy, weedy type.
It won’t only be the character who has changed – the attitude to him of the other characters will have to change to. Colleagues would feel differential about a needy bloke from a confidant bloke; also the reader will have different thoughts about him – might they care less about weedy Fergs than they would have about Darius, my strong silent type?
I think I have made the right decision, but this is going to take some work to rewrite everything I’ve written before – this plot-line weaves in and out of the others… Poor Fergs maybe dead, but I have another character still waiting for another story!
If you want to read the other stories in the same series, then here is a link:
The first in the series, Radwinter, is now available as a paperback: