I recently introduced two new characters, one who some people will love to hate. and another one who has his flaws, but who is very likeable.
The danger of developing intriguing and fun characters is that you want to spend more time with them than the major players But sometimes these new characters become a distraction and turn into an obstacle to the overall story and plot. However, they can be a great tool because these supporting players will deliver zingers that reveal an important element in the protogonist’s motivation or the overall plot.
For a while I’ve been trying to figure out why my main character did an ideological about-face. I needed to come up with a credible event that could leave a person so disappointed and disillusioned that he or she would abandon his or her beliefs from sheer disgust. About a month ago, I finally figured it out. I introduced a character who had influence and did something egregiously selfish that left a stamp on the main character’s psyche. But I wanted to balance it with another character, who has his faults and quirks, but who’s also the voice of reason and compassion. This is the character I really like and I’ve been fooling around with the idea of inserting him in a few scenes. But here’s the problem: there’s no room for him and he won’t move the story forward.
As I spend more time writing, revising, and adding more material, I see how each story element and character, (and if you want break it down further, each word) is a piece of a very large puzzle. Each of those pieces have to fit perfectly for the picture, or in this case, the story to make sense.
Right now I’m fighting the urge to add another scene with this character, but I have a feeling that he might make a special appearance near the story’s conclusion.