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How to Determine if a Side Character Stay or Goes

Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by Addison, Mar 31, 2016.

  1. ChasingSuns

    ChasingSuns Sage

    Personally I don't think that there's a set way to determine how many side characters are appropriate outside of asking yourself what works for the story. I recently bumped into a scenario where there was a scene that I just couldn't get figured out. In the end, I ended up cutting the scene completely. There was a character that would be introduced in the scene, so therefore his appearance was cut as well. I do plan on visiting that location later in the story, but for all I know, that might get cut too. I guess what I'm trying to say is that if a character really isn't helping the story, it will show, in some way or another. You can have a huge cast of characters like GRRM, or you can have a more limited cast. It all depends on the story. If a pet dragon works in your project then go ahead and use it. If not, then don't. But even if the dragon is just there for a sort of animal companion factor, then there can still be purpose to the character. Just gotta do some digging to find what that is. I hope that this helps a little bit :D
  2. Terry Greer

    Terry Greer Sage

    Use a dice.
    1-3 they stay
    4-5 they go.
    Roll the dice and take the result.
    If you roll the dice and you're not happy with the result - then do the opposite.
    (Really it's just a way of crystallizing your thought process - you already know subconciously if they should or shouldn't go - you just need to realise it.)

    Reilith likes this.
  3. Bekka King

    Bekka King Scribe

    The rule-of-thumb I've picked up is that the best stories are kept tight and that everything in the story must somehow serve the plot.
    If the demographic you have in mind for your books would enjoy having a cute dragon in the story (such as young readers), I'd be inclined to keep the character. Otherwise, ditch the cute dragon if it doesn't directly further the plot.
  4. Clifford cope

    Clifford cope New Member

    I just kinda left one or two out, but did not make them permanent. But they just king of left the scene. Which was cool because then after I wrote the second book I saw how I could combine them but had to get one or two characters back in play. Which lead me to a third and fourth. So I did not totally get rid of any.

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