Tag Archives: change

How and When to Cut Unnecessary Characters From Your WIP

Hello writer bees!

Today, I’m sharing some tips on removing unnecessary characters from the narrative. No, I’m not talking about killing off a character, I’m talking about not giving life to begin with. While you are in the drafting phase, know that some fictional folks don’t always make it into the finished product. And that’s fine. How do you know a character is useless? When do you “kill your darlings”, as they say? Let’s figure that out together, shall we?

everything is trash, except for these books!; 9.26.18

My Personal Experience

This dilemma has actually happened to me before. Hopefully, you can learn something from my personal experience as a writer.

A couple months back, I decided to remove one of my suspects from my murder mystery WIP. I thought about it for quite sometime. He wasn’t a poorly constructed character, far from it. However, I realized, the story could survive without him, that his presence wouldn’t be missed if he was gone. And that was a problem. If Also, part of the reason I kept him around was because I wanted five suspects total. Bad idea. Now, I realize four suspects is enough. And perhaps this rejected suspect idea can be reused in another story someday. You never know.

A bit of change had to be done. For consistency sake, scenes needed to be rearranged and edited, plot threads knitted together. Relationships between characters shifted a smidge. An aspect of their nature transferred to another character, adding complexity to their personality. Very quickly, I learned an existing character could do the work of an unnecessary character. Because I removed this suspect, I feel like my story is much stronger without him than with him. I believe like I made the right decision.

Function over Beauty

At the end of the day, every character needs a function. Why is this character in the story? What purpose do they serve? What role do they play? How do they move the plot along? If you can’t answer these simple questions, that’s a real problem. Try to put each character under the microscope and really consider what function they serve in the grand scheme of the story. Then, you can start weeding out the undesirables and letting the true stars of the show shine. And listen, just because one character doesn’t fit one narrative, that doesn’t mean you can’t recycle that character idea in another story. Maybe they’ll be a better fit somewhere else instead. Save ’em for the sequel, I say.

Plot Hole in One

No matter how useless the character, when you do decided to remove them, there will be an empty space. And you don’t want your reader to know or notice a missing piece in the narrative. Think of it like hiding a hole in the wall by putting a picture frame over it, if that makes sense. Be certain all plot holes are covered and tied up any loose threads. That all the relationships and personalities of the existing characters are solid. It might take some rewriting, but don’t be afraid of a little extra drafting. The end result may be even better after these rewrites.

No Tropes Welcomed

Look, frankly speaking, I don’t think “trope-free literature” is a thing. Don’t be surprised if you find a cliché or two in your work. Keep in mind, too many tropes and clichés will drag the narrative down into total boredom. If the character is considered an overused stereotype, they probably fall in the “cut” category. Insist on keeping this extra character? Okay. Trust in your instinct as a writer. Nothing a little reworking can’t fix. Be creative and original and break the mold of a trope. Flush out a character’s personality and motivation, giving their real depth and complexity.


Bottom line, every character needs a function. No one wants dead weight in their story. Really consider what purpose a character holds in your narrative. Weed out unoriginal characters. And if you do decide to remove the character, the changes should make the plot stronger.

Have you ever had to cut a character from your story? Are you considering it? Talk about it in the comments. I’d love to hear from you.

Keep writing and stay safe, writer bees.

— Lady Jabberwocky

Writer Finds a Real Job? (Big Blog Changes)

Hello writer bees!

If you have followed this blog long enough, you’ll know I’ve been job hunting for a long time. I’ve been a freelance writer for three years and even wrote about my freelancing experience. Despite my love of writing from home, I’ve been looking for steadier work, or at least a regular paycheck.

An opportunity has opened up. It’s a 9 to 5 office cubicle gig. Not exactly the most creative space. I don’t know if it’s for me yet, but I’m giving it a try. We’ll see what happens.

The next few weeks will be a challenge. Right now, I’m stressing if I can juggle this opportunity, this blog and my WIP. Learning to balance it all is difficult. A tough decision, but Lady Jabberwocky may need to go on the back burner for a couple weeks.

So, what does this mean for the blog? Frankly speaking, I’m not exactly sure what kind of content to post at the moment. Writing prompts are scheduled into October, so you guys will still get weekly prompts on Mondays.

Sadly, there is a chance of no more Friday posts for awhile. I haven’t had the heart to pull that trigger just yet. If you guys have any ideas for post ideas, let me know in the comments. I’ve considered writing 100 word stories. Or maybe answering questions from you lovely folks. That could be fun, right? Again, we’ll see what happens.

I’m adjusting to a big change in my life and still figuring things out. Please be understanding during this time. This blog will always be a space for writers and storytellers alike. I hope to continuing blogging and engaging with you wonderful readers, it’s truly a passion project I don’t want to let go of just yet.

Thanks for sticking around, writer bees. Keep writing and stay safe.

Lady Jabberwocky Victoria