Character Changes in “Bright Freedom”


I worked on my novella, “Bright Freedom” this week. My goal was to develop the characters more. I came across some old notes from three years ago. My concept of the story has changed since then.

For the most part , I developed some background for the characters this week. I had thought about the characters before, but I wanted to get my ideas down on paper. I gave some thought to the personalities and motivations of the characters, but much of my effort was to create physical descriptions and behaviours. These, of course, are intended to give clues to their personalities.

This exercise allowed me to reconsider the characters I have in the story. It helps focus the story if I can keep the number of characters to a minimum. I tend to build up the subplots at the expense of my main story.

So far, I have eliminated two characters and combined two others into a single person. I might be able to eliminate another character and combine two other characters into a single character. If I go through with these changes, it will cut the number of characters from 16 to 11. In addition I think I can reduce the importance of a few of the characters so the focus of the story is more on my protagonist, Bright Freedom. I can cut the number of “important” characters from 9 to 6.

The last time I really worked on this story was three years ago. When I started over, I knew I made some notes for changes I wanted to make. I thought I had lost them, but this week I found them. I had some good ideas I can incorporate into the story, but I can’t use a lot of the material I came up with. My concept of the story has changed quite a bit.

My plan was to keep this rewrite to a revision of the existing material, but I wonder if I need a more drastic rewrite. One story that comes to mind is about when Robert Louis Stephenson wrote “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde”. When his wife read his first draft and pointed out how it could be so much better if he gave it more depth, he burned it and started over from scratch. I don’t want to go that far.

I think I have what I need to start the actual rewrite, but still feel some reluctance to start.

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