Kill off a character (but not the way you think)

KillingOfCharacterEver have the feeling your story is getting away from you in a way that feels like something’s out of whack rather than something organic is happening?

Perhaps you need to kill off a character.

I just killed off one of mine. But not in the usual sense.

That is, I didn’t construct, orchestrate, and pen the demise of this character on the page or screen.

I just realized this particular character – Spring is her name – isn’t necessary.

For a very long time I have believed Spring to be a friend and teacher, of sorts, for Miranda, the main character, in my developing novel/screenplay, Miranda’s Garden. But the other day, I made a list of players in the story, and it was clear I’d have to get rid of some of them. They just felt… superfluous. Like some people can start to feel in our lives when relationships run their course.

At first thought, I was sad. These people have been with me for years, after all.

But I was surprised how quickly the sadness passed, and I was able to bump Spring off with all the compassion of a mafia mob boss. Just like that, she was unnecessary and insignificant. Gone.

To be more precise, Spring is actually a facet of Miranda. Rather than always putting Miranda in the position of looking to someone else for her lessons, epiphanies, and triumphs, with Spring gone now, Miranda can look within herself. And by conflating these two characters, letting Miranda absorb Spring, it will surely (at least I hope it will) make Miranda far more complex, interesting, and real.

I’ve lost a character, but the story, I think, has gained so much more. And so has Miranda. I can’t wait to see what she does now that I’m not denying her this more powerful side of her psyche.

Will there be more victims? Most certainly. I already have a few in mind.

*  *  *

Try conflating your characters
and see if it will enhance or improve your story.