Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Edit 4: Side Characters

Back with another round of edits! Last week we talked about the Main Character edit here. To sum it up in a few words, the main character is the driving force of the plot, so it only stands to reason that they get their own edit to flesh them out and strengthen their arc.

But the side characters are just as important. If main characters are the entrée, side characters are the starters, sides and desserts of the meal that give it an extra flavor. No one wants to read a book about just one person. One of the joys of books is the relationships formed between different characters and how they bounce off each other. Characters help to drive the plot and character development of others around them.

But at the same time, they need to have their own distinct arcs. I read a quote once that says “treat every character like they think the story is about them”. Because everyone is the main character of their own story, are they not? Besides, my favorite characters in books are almost never the main characters. A well written side character can snag your reader’s heart and leave them wanting more. And think of all the delicious feels when you kill their favorite side character off!

So I do an edit with the side characters, mapping out their arcs and checking their actions and reactions just as I do with the main character. This is mostly the same practice of edit 3, just a little less in-depth because the other characters don’t have as much page time. Not to mention, you can pick and choose which part of their arc to show. Since they are not the focus, you aren’t expected show every detail of their arc.

As a side note, the villain of your book can fit into this category of character, but depending on their involvement, you might want to do a separate edit just for the villains. As the driving force of the conflict, they often take more focus that side characters. In the case of my book, the villains are currently in the background and I can fit them in with the side characters edit. But there are some books where I can benefit by a villain edit.

Cause villains are awesome
That’s about all for now. See you for the next edit and happy editing!

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