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Writing Bits and Pieces – Removing a Character


This week I had to rewrite a scene or two and remove a character and replace him with another. I don’t want to risk any spoilers, so I’ll be discussing this particular writing problem in slightly vague detail. In re-reading what I had written it became clear that a certain character should not be in the story. The scenes that I had written worked fine, in fact I loved having the cameo by this character from another novel of mine. But it reduced tension in this key Second Act scene and made the hero’s journey seem too easy.

I wanted the hero to have to face a new problem and didn’t want to give him anything familiar to lean on. I wanted the hero to have to trust a new character in a situation that was uncomfortable to him. That was hard to get across when he was interacting with an old friend instead of being faced with a somewhat threatening individual.

It was a hard couple of scenes to have to cut up and redo. I really liked them the way I had them. But they didn’t serve the story so they had to go. Usually I find this sort of deep cut editing in the second draft, but this one was found and handled in the first draft. Hopefully that will be one less thing to change down the line. I’ll still need to go in and tweak these scenes a bit, but at least now I have some tension right where I need it. Yet another reason to be familiar with story structure.