I took this photo a few minutes ago. Not trying to rub it in for all you poor folks suffering in colder, snowier climes, I swear. I simply thought you might like a reminder of what’s coming.
Yesterday, I was working on my synopsis for my WIP (work in progress) and came to a stumbling spot. I had two characters, both of whom I found interesting and engaging and important to the hero and heroine, but a nagging thought in my brain–placed there by my father-in-law, Milt–made me question whether or not both characters were necessary.
Milt, who is 86, read my last book, THE GOOD PROVIDER, and he told me he liked the story but thought there were “…too many characters.” He couldn’t keep them all straight.
I’ll admit up front that I don’t take criticism well, but, this was valid feedback. That book came out BEFORE Supers went back to the longer word-count, which might have affected how quickly certain information needed to be delivered. It’s part of an ongoing series (Spotlight on Sentinel Pass), which means tying in characters from previous books. Plus, the opening scene takes place at a wedding where there are lots of people, lots of names to remember.
This small but ernest critique stayed in the back of my mind as I began writing the opening for my new book. I found myself second-guessing two of the secondary characters. Were they too much alike? Did/could they serve the same purpose? Which one could I do without? The crotchety first-floor neighbor who fills the role of Wise Old Man (from the Heroe’s Journey) for the hero? Or, the heroine’s father, who serves this purpose for the heroine as well as causing her angst.
Spring worked. A shoulder-into-the-wind sort of breeze loosened up the cobwebs. The brilliant blue skies with jagged contrails and the sort of white clouds we only see this time of year made change seem limitless and possible. The burgeoning buds on the trees reminded me that beginnings are fluid. I returned with my answer.
The two characters remain, but only one will have an on-page speaking role. Her father is going to stay in Denver. She still has to deal with her angst and daddy-issues, but she’ll share the hero’s Wise Old Man –and, of course, the hero and heroine will help each other to find their way.
So, that’s how Spring works for me.