Character Editing: Creating A Complex Main Character … A Writer’s Journey

No, I’m not done yet!!

I am still editing characters for my novel.  But… all the ultraminor, minor, and most of the major characters have been edited.

Today I am editing the main character. The main character interacts with many of the other characters, in different settings, and in different situations. This is why I left the main character for last… because character editing is difficult, and the main character is the most important.

The main character is a challenge because of the importance, and complexity. Different situations and minor characters bring out different traits in the main character. How do I explain this? Well, think of Bruce Banner (the second half of The Incredible Hulk).

  • If a two-year-old boy walks up to Bruce Banner and kicks Bruce in the ankle, Bruce is just going to laugh.
  • If Tony Stark/Iron Man walks up to Bruce Banner and kicks Bruce in the ankle, it’s going to hurt Bruce… and Bruce might turn into the Hulk to smash Tony Stark.
  • But if Thanos walks up to Bruce Banner… Thanos will not even get close before Bruce turns into the Hulk, and they are going to have a titanic clash.

You see, Bruce Banner is the same, but how he reacts to a situation changes with each character. This is what I am dealing with as I edit my main character. How my main character feels about the minor characters, and the situation, means my character will react differently. This gets complicated. Some people may confuse this with an inconsistency in how the character acts. But that’s what is challenging and fun about character editing.

It looks like I will be finished with character editing by the middle of January, 2015. Although I do not have a deadline, I expected to be finished by the end of December. After I finish character editing I will move on to the voice editing stage. The voice editing stage is my second favorite stage of writing, while character editing is my favorite.

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