Square peg, round hole: the character that just doesn’t fit

While drinking my morning coffee (which is actually hot because Ezra surrendered to a morning nap), I started perusing through the draft of “Poppy Swings.” To catch you up, “Poppy Swings,” is the working title of my novel that I’ve had a very intense on and off again relationship with since 2009. I want it to be poignant (because perfect just sounds crazy). My directions have changed a few times, but the essence of the story has remained the same.

Screen Shot 2016-05-23 at 7.07.07 AM

The elusive hot coffee: rarely captured on camera

Normally, it doesn’t bother me to scrap characters and chapters, but this morning is different. I think it’s because I have been avoiding this particular scrapping for a long time, trying to reconcile its place in the pages.

But it just doesn’t go.

I really like a woman in my novel and she is a pretty important supporting character. I like that she is sassy and challenges my protagonist (Tara). I like that I’ve had moments where I’ve thought, “Yes. This is exactly what I wanted to write and this is exactly what this character would say/do.” But despite the attachment I have to her and to certain scenes, they just don’t fit. She is the cliché: a square peg in a round hole.

What I’ve elected to do is cut her scenes and save them in a new file, along with some notes for a different story. Who knows! She could morph into the main character in a new life I envision. But for now, her deletion from “Poppy Swings” has left gaps (literally) and I’m back to being overwhelmed. I’m overwhelmed and intimidated because her presence in my draft shows me how much more Tara needs developing. Let me tell you folks, that task is daunting. But with my initial fear, I am itching with excitement about the new scenes I could craft and the new places I can take Tara.

That’s the goal for this week.

2 thoughts on “Square peg, round hole: the character that just doesn’t fit

  1. S.E. Andres (@dandoruinn) says:

    It’s interesting that you said that. The opposite is happening with me. It wasn’t until I have one of my two main characters as a best friend that she was one-dimensional. Her friend allowed me to come up with an integral plot to her individual storyline and the overall storyline and to develop her personality into a well-rounded character! But I’m glad you came to peace with your decision to let her go, no matter how much she means to you.


    • T.S. Reiger says:

      It was SO HARD! I liked her a lot. The main relationship in the story is between Tara and her dad. Unfortunately, the more I write, the more I noticed the supporting friend character distracting from that primary relationship. Tara also has a sister and I really like her voice (more subtle than sassy) and how I have incorporated her with Tara and the dad. Deleting the friend character is going to allow me to really hone in on the supporting sister character as well as Tara.


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