I knew this would happen, but it’s still hard to deal with.
Think about writing a first draft of a novel. You have a plot, whether you planned it carefully or you just let it happen as you write. Whichever the case, by the time you write the last sentence, you have a story with a beginning, a very big middle, and an ending. As you worked through it, the events and scenes and dialogue are all based on the story as you saw it and as you made it unfold.
Then, after the first draft is finished, you decide to change something. I don’t mean you decide to make Jane chubby instead of skinny, or to give Harold a full head of hair instead of making him bald. I mean that you decide to give one of your characters a certain trait that has a huge impact on her life and consequently the lives of others in the story. Something like this requires extensive revision of your novel. You have to make sure that each scene relating to the changed character, whether that character is in the scene or not, takes into account the big change that you made that character undergo.
That’s what I’m doing now. I’m working in Chapter 5, on Page 104. I’m taking Ivan Stetler out of some scenes that he was in originally because he has been grievously injured in a football game and has since become a recluse. Being a recluse means you don’t show up in scenes with other characters very often. In my novel, if Ivan doesn’t interact with anyone, he can’t appear directly in a scene. Can anyone guess why not? I’ll provide the answer at the bottom of this post.
The photo included in this post is of my novel. It’s the draft that I’m using for my rewrite. There are 452 pages double spaced, and there will be more pages by the time I’m finished rewriting.
I think I’ve made the right move by injuring Ivan Stetler. He was too perfect and needed something bad to happen to make him more believable and to be able to achieve my goal for him. I’ll expand on that in a later post.
Instead of deleting the “newspaper” articles that are in the novel, I’ve added some. I had to change the last name of a character because I hadn’t recognized originally that I had duplicated the last name of several characters. So I made Owen Thompson, Owen Fairchild. Either way, he is used as a hostage during a basketball game to ensure a fair conclusion.
So, did you figure out why Ivan can’t appear directly in a scene if he doesn’t interact with anyone else?
My novel is a first person account of the narrator, George Belt. Live scenes in which characters are present require that they be with, or very close to, George Belt. He can only give real time accounts of incidents and interactions if he is present during the interactions and incidents. If Ivan is locked in a room all by himself, he cannot be present in a scene in my book.