Tag Archives: Writer’s Block

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

Prompt of the Week: Silver Linings in 2020

Write about one good thing that happened to you during 2020. It couldn’t have been all bad.


Shoutout to Stuart Danker for their honest response to last week’s prompt.

Write your response in the comments below. Best entry gets a shout out next week!

Write with Heart,

Lady Jabberwocky

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Prompt of the Week: What’s Your New Year’s Resolution?

What’s your New Year’s Resolution? What goal do you wish to achieve in 2021?


There were two great entries for last week prompt. So, shout out to Flynn and Michael Raven for their fantastic fiction.

Write your response in the comments below. Best entry gets a shout out next week!

Write with Heart,

Lady Jabberwocky

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Prompt of the Week: If We Took a Holiday

Invent a holiday. What are people celebrating? What are the traditions of the holiday? Think outside the box with this one.


There were so many great responses to last week’s prompt, I can’t pick just one entry. So shoutout to aphrahope, Priscilla Bettis, melissamyounger and Josie Cole.

Write your response in the comments below. Best entry gets a shout out next week!

Write with Heart,

Lady Jabberwocky


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Prompt of the Week: Favorite Part of NaNoWriMo

Share your favorite line/scene/excerpt you’ve written during this year’s National Novel Writing Month. And if you don’t want to share your work, that’s fine. Talk about your favorite part of NaNoWriMo.


Write your response in the comments below. Best entry gets a shout out next week!

Write with Heart,

Lady Jabberwocky


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NaNoWriMo 2020 (Week 4)

Hello everyone!

There’s only a few days left on National Novel Writing Month. We’re in the home stretch. Keep writing everyone, the finish line is in sight!

Sorry, this update will be short. Recently, I’ve been starting to get wrapped up with holiday preparations. I’m spending time with family and doing some Christmas shopping.

For those wondering, I had a small, relaxing thanksgiving with my family. We watched March of the Wooden Soldiers, our holiday tradition. It’s a classic Laurel and Hardy film. I cooked a dairy free meal and stayed in sweatpants all day. A lovely dinner, indeed.

See the source image

Onto my NaNoWriMo progress! Unfortunately, I haven’t written much this week. What with the holidays and all. I’m still hovering around 10,000 words, halfway to my goal. Although, I haven’t made much progress word count wise, I’ve gained a new perspective on my story. There’s been some tinkering with the outline and characters.

Suspects are developing and growing more complex. New scenes and setting are being added and explored. Clues in my mystery are being more thought out and carefully placed. Despite the word count total staying the same, my WIP has grown/evolved this month. And that, I will celebrate.

Also, I’m acknowledging my weaknesses as a writer. Setting and character descriptions don’t come easily to me. It’s something I’m actively working on. I’m trying to take the time to imagine something in vivid details. Man, this Nano experience is becoming a real eye opener for me, huh?

Still, I’m inspired to keep writing even after the end of November. NaNoWriMo in December anyone?


Thanks for stopping by this blog! I appreciate all the support and positive vibes. How’s your NaNoWriMo project going? Did you reach your goals? Talk to me in the comments. I love to hear from you all.

Stay safe and keep writing

—- Lady Jabberwocky