Wednesday, May 24, 2017

The Curious Case of the Missing Character

I mentioned this on social media a while ago—because apparently, this is Stuff I've Already Posted On Social Media week on My Pet Blog—so some of you may already be aware of this, but I seem to have lost a character.

Somewhere in between the end of Second Nature and the start of Full Circle, this character just...disappeared.

And not some random, background player, either, but a POV character. A character who has played a pretty significant role in the first two books.

It's weird.

I'm just under 50k in Full Circle's word count (I was over 50k, but deleted a bunch of stuff because I'm me, and that's what I do), and while scrolling through the document, it occurred to me that in those nearly 50k words that this character just...wasn't there.

No scenes. No lines. He's barely even mentioned. I think he's only mentioned once. In the first chapter. Oh no—twice. He's mentioned twice. The second time, in a later chapter, because two other characters are wondering where he went, so perhaps I shouldn't be surprised that he's gone missing, but missing he is.

And it worries me. I don't quite know what it means. If anything. Maybe it means absolutely nothing. I honestly don't know. I just find it strange that he's gone.

I would be less concerned with his absence if I had any idea at all about where he went and what he was doing there. I had such a careful(ish) plan for Full Circle way back when before I actually had finished writing Second Nature. And when the ending of that book obliterated said plan, I developed a new plan for Full Circle, or at the very least, part of a new plan (I admit Act Three is currently lacking), but here's the thing about those plans— my missing character didn't figure in to either one.

The character the plot forgot.

So where did he go? Did he take a look at the plot I have figured out and decide it was time for an extended vacation? Did I kill him off and just forget (which, as it was pointed out, would be a total MJ thing to do)? Is he off working behind the scenes in this book and just hasn't yet revealed to me there wheres and whys of it all?

I'm hoping for Door #3.

Of course, Full Circle is deep within First Draft territory, and will be languishing there for a good long while, so all this worry and fussing may be for nothing. Hell, because I'm talking about it here, I'll probably realize right where that character is and then have to kick myself repeatedly because it was so obvious.

Which, I would totally be okay with.

In the meantime, however, let's just hope no other characters decide to join him.


Have you ever lost a character? If so, how did you go about finding him/her/it?

29 comments:

  1. Not every character will be a force in a series. I had some secondary characters absent in at least one of my three books. Maybe he retired - one of mine did.

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    1. I just had this funny image of my character shouting, "That's it—I quit!" and leaving. :)

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  2. LOL! Well if he's anything like my characters, he has a plan all his own and just doesn't want to tell you yet.

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    1. I suppose that would serve me right. :)

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  3. In my WIP, I've had one POV character drop off the radar as well. Of course, it's not the third book in a series, so my solution was simple: strip her of her POV and relegate her to a minor supporting role, via rewrite.

    In your case, I'm hoping you find literary gold behind door #3. That, or a live goat, because that's always funny.

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    1. Ooh! I love goats! Now I'm hoping for door #4.

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  4. Gone MIA, eh? I smiled at your "That's it --- I quit!"

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    1. Better to leave on his own terms than mine, right? :)

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    2. Hahaha. That's pretty good. Yes, I think better he should run away than be killed off.

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  5. I've never lost a character like that, but in one of my books, I amalgamated an important supporting character into my MC. In draft one, she had a brother. In draft 2, she didn't, and all that brother's plot points were handed to her. Works way better.

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    1. I did the amalgamating thing in my first book. There was this character that just didn't need to be there, so I gave all her stuff (not that she had much) to someone else to do. And yeah, it worked much better.

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  6. I like the idea of door #3. Although the goat...

    You'll figure it out. And when you do make sure to tweet about it. I look forward to finding out what happened to him.

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    1. Me too! And I'm sure I'll tweet about it. Then write a corresponding blog post a few days later. :)

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  7. I'm sure you'll figure out the reason he disappeared. Maybe he slipped through a portal somewhere :)

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    1. I have actually been wondering that. The portal thing, I mean. It's completely feasible.

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  8. If it makes you feel better, it happened to John Steinbeck. When he was writing the Grapes of Wrath, there was a Joad he forgot about: Noah. So, he wrote in this little scene where Noah decides to just stay by the river and not go with the rest of the family. It's not a bad little scene, and the story is probably tighter with fewer Joads, but still: John Flipping Steinbeck lost a character. So, it must be a sign of genius, right?

    @mirymom1 from
    Balancing Act

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  9. Fingers crossed for Door #3! Don't think I've ever lost a character before, but mine definitely hide secrets from me all the time. Wouldn't be surprised if yours was up to something in a similar way!

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    1. That would really fit the character, too. But I thought we had the kind of relationship where we didn't keep secrets from one another! ;)

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  10. Oh dear. It'll probably be a good idea to make sure he isn't dead before you have him saving the day at the 11th hour - just a quick flip back ;-)

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    1. Or, it could be my opening to finally turn this thing into a zombie novel!

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  11. Hope he's not planning on making a comeback and throwing a wrench in things!

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    1. I'm sure that's exactly what he's doing.

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  12. I'm laughing. I did that in a book 3 of my first fantasy series. I kind of forgot about him halfway through. I had to go back and kill him off, which really hurt.

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  13. you are so hilarious!
    and i love that your books are so serious and intense, quite the opposite of your funny persona. i bet your character will turn up, but by then he's been replaced, as happens with most lost things...

    ready to read #2!

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  14. Hmm... I don't think that's ever happened to me, but I always read the previous books before taking on a sequel.

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  16. I'm chuckling at this. I often wonder why I find a cameo character in chapter three and never again. What was I thinking? Or was I thinking? Maybe my mind went to the Bahamas and Clyde was there and I thought how neat he'd be as a foil for the MC and then I came back from vacation and Clyde stayed in the Bahamas. Who knows?

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