My WIP’s Third Revision
Major Characters (1)
I have thirteen.
If this were a movie, these are the characters who are famous, are up and coming, or used to be someone. I even wrote them with certain actors in mind. But most of the actors are dead so, when Spielberg makes a movie, he will have to find his own. Ha.
All together, my major characters make 238 appearances in 96 scenes. The fewest appearances is eight. My MC has the most, with 63.
When I started my WIP, I knew all of them existed. Some of their roles got bigger, and others got smaller. All of them are in my story for a reason.
So, how am I doing it?
I mentioned Scrivener when I wrote about minor characters. When I prepared for character revisions, I used the key word feature, tagging every scene my important characters were in. I also put in a key word for each scene number.
Before I wrote a single scene, I designed character arcs for each of my important characters. Using the Ackerman / Puglisi Character Traits Thesauruses, I identified between one and four positive traits for each of them, and one or two negative traits for some of them. I went shopping in the thesauruses and picked out some of the attributes and emotions I wanted to use in my story, since I couldn’t use the dozen and dozens they offered. Once I finished, I broke the arc up into separate files, one for each scene, and gave them two key words – character name, and scene number.
When I revised my first important character, I did a key word search using the character’s name. Every scene they were in came up. And…every character traits file came up, too. I created a collection, and this became my work space.
I used the split screen feature, putting the scene in my left window and my character notes in my right window. Since my character file fit on one page, I could look at it as I worked through the scene.
After all, that I used the highlighter and marked every instance in each scene where my character said or did something. By accident, I left the markings in when I went to my next character. I decided I liked it. As long as I can keep coming up with new colors, I will leave my scene marked up. By the time I finish revision three, I will be able to see all the important characters in each scene.
Finally, I got to the task at hand, writing. I went through and revised my character’s dialog and physical beats. Since the first nine I revise are not POV characters, I don’t have to worry about thoughts, emotions or inner dialog. That gives me time to grow.
How am I doing?
I…had…butterflies after I opened that first file, getting ready to revise an important character. Emotions swirled in my tummy along with all those butterflies.
What if broke my character?
What if I dumbed down my story?
Am I really on a track to get to a beta version?
I settled down and revised my first important character. He happened to be the character who dies at the end of part one, propelling my main character into her story. Once I forgot all those emotions, I settled down, swept through his eight scenes, and did my best for him.
So, one of thirteen characters revised, also with eight of 238 scene appearances. None of my 96 scenes are beta ready, but none of them will be until I reach my four POV characters.
So, What’s Next?
I will work through my remaining characters, one by one. I wonder if my approach will work for my more complex characters who live in dozens of scenes?