One of the first books I wrote, I loved and it was just beautifully prosed. At least until I learned about a little about characters and storytelling. I analyzed my main character, and asked myself simple questions, “She’s on a quest to save the country from evil, what does she add to the quest? What personality traits help her achieve her goals? Does she even have any goals? If I deleted the character from the story, would the story go on without her?”
After a deep look at my character, I realized she was weak and shallow and this was my main protagonist! She was a character my book could do without. It was a difficult discovery.
Throw the book aside? I think not. I can’t ignore all the many years of work. So I filled out character sketches, mapped out my characters personalities and their involvement with the story. My other characters were fun, strong, and had quirks. But the main character: a dull one.
Ultimately, I revamped my character, adding depth, discovering who she is, and it’s led to a complete rewrite of the story, naturally. Now there’s more depth. Today, I can tell you who my character is, how she will react in different situations, but mostly how my story needs her.
How deep are your characters? Are they worthy of being in your story?