Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Use Characters That Matter

“Every character should matter. When you have unnecessary characters in your story, you end up with plot lines and fluff that do nothing to further the story.” -- Lonnie Ezell in Creating Fictional Characters That Hook the Reader.
One of my early stories had a large woman in it who came running out of a bar and down the street like the proverbial chicken with its head cut off. I knew this was a cliche, but it painted a funny picture in my head. I had another story where a barmaid -- who happened to be the owner’s wife -- dropped a tray of glasses and scared one character (who was the town’s deputy sheriff) enough that he hid behind the bar. Both characters received negative comments from members of my writing group because they served no purpose. As today’s quote states, they were “fluff.” I hated to see them go, but finally purged them from their respective stories.

Neither has popped up in my subsequent tales, but I haven’t forgotten them. Perhaps some day I’ll write a story where they can play a significant part.

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