Character Exchange


Previously, I complained that my scenes generally only had two characters (post 1, post 2). I wondered if I was cheating somehow.

The current scene I’m working on ballooned to 11 characters and, wow, I can’t handle them all. So a few character got the ax and I’m still on the fence about a couple others.

The two that are already gone were an easy, if sad, choice; they’re completely inconsequential to the story. They are cemetery workers who would be at a funeral. At real funerals, I’ve seen them hanging out in the background, waiting for the service to be over and the families to leave so they can refill the grave. In my scene, the provided, uh, reaction shots. However, with nine people still in the scene, I can get plenty of other reactions.

Despite that, I’m sad to see these two go. While they didn’t have much page time, I was already drawing their two personalities in my head. I could see them.

Here is where they’re introduced:

Behind him, on the path that led out to the empty field, two men in work overalls leaned against a vehicle that looked part golf cart and part truck. Shovels poked out of the back. One man wore dirty leather work gloves, while the other man held his over his face like an eye shade.

Then, as things in the scene get interesting:

The cemetery workers pushed off of the truck and inched closer. They tried to stand casually on the edge of the paved path even as they leaned in to hear better.

So those were their grand moment in the sun…and they didn’t even make it through a full draft. Not a lot, I know, but just taking that little bit out made the scene a little more manageable.

Since they didn’t even make it through a full draft, they aren’t fleshed out on paper. Since they’re so trivial to the story, they probably never would be more fleshed out than what you just read. But, in my head, the one wearing his gloves is a head taller than the other. The shorter one has closely buzzed hair. He’s Mexican. The taller one, I’m not sure about…nor am I sure of his hair. The shorter one is laid back with a prankster personality. The taller one is older and more serious.

It’s not much to go on, but feel free to take them.

Do you have characters that you like but have been relegated to the recycle bin? Share them! Maybe there’s a place for them in someone else’s story.


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