Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Reusing Characters

Have you ever had a character you really like in a story that just didn't seem to go anywhere? Ditch the story. Keep the character.

I had a character like that show up in my Ali story. I'd written another story that I liked, but knew it needed a lot of work, and maybe a plot in order to really be something I could get other people to read. But I really liked my main character, Hannah Franklin. The story was that Hannah had grown up on TV along with her brothers and sisters in a family drama, the Flanagans. Her mother played the mother, her father was their base of reality. The show ended when half of her family was killed in a plane crash, effectively ending the show. The thing is that Hannah so identified with being Hannah Flanagan that sometimes it was hard to simply live her life as Hannah Franklin. That was the backstory. The story itself had her going to college and dealing with these things. Like I said, it needed a plot.

Then I was doing a major re-write of my Ali story, changing some of the characters out and freshening it up and realized that Hannah, minus the dead family, could be one of Ali's dormmates at boarding school. The thing is, that a child starting out on TV playing a very small child on a show is most likely to be played by twins. So, Hannah got split into two people, Heather and Lily. They grew up splitting the role of Hannah Flanagan. Heather still wants to be on TV, Lily is done with it. These two characters have added a great dimension to my Ali stories and I'm so glad they didn't just wither away in an unusable story.

What characters from a story stored in a drawer can you bring new life to?

1 comment:

  1. Sometimes our characters are so real to us and we like them so much, I think, that we just don't want to part with them. That's great what you've done to use a character you love. I'll have to look at my characters and see what I can do with them.