Have you ever had an out of body experience? One where even as you’re typing, you hear yourself yelling “no, don’t do it!”
I spent Saturday yelling at myself.
I’m at the end of the book. Not the end-end (not sure I’ll ever get there, arg), but late enough that adding new characters seems like a really bad idea. And yet, there I was, describing a new character. Why? Why!
The scene is a burial scene. The new character is the burialee’s mother, so it makes sense that she’d show up. Right? She’s been mentioned twice. And we have seen a picture of her, so she’s not new, new. Right?
She’s not providing any deus ex-machina ending, so I’m not worried about that. She’s not Bertha from Jane Eyre, ready to fling herself off a burning building to help make this a happy ending. But she does add tension. There will be tension without her, so is she necessary? No. But she’s the mother so why on earth wouldn’t she be there? That’s the part that’s bugging me. I’d have to come up with a reasonable reason that she’s not there…and that seems like all sorts of hoops to jump through.
I’ve considered introducing her earlier, but other than the picture and mentions she already gets, there’s no reason to. Nothing is gained from it.
So, when is too late in a story to introduce someone new?