Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Gone And Forgotten?

Rich, elaborate novels usually have an abundance of characters.  Some are major players, some are minor actors, but all advance the plot in some way.  I've introduced many myself.  The problem I seem to have is that outside of a couple of key players, some of my characters get lost and are never heard from again.

It's easy to do - when a character is no longer vital to the plot, they seldom make another appearance.  However, that doesn't mean people don't wonder what happened to them.

Take Salvation Day, for example.  Through the first third to half of the book, there's a character named Gary who plays a fairly prominent role.  He serves as a mentor and sounding board of sorts for Dr. Mike Faulkner(the main character).  In fact, the first time Mike tries his new invention - the one he will use to try and kill God - Gary is the one to point out how dangerous it is.  They get into a scuffle, and Gary runs for the hills before he can get vaporized.

Then he's gone.  I don't mean that he dies, just that he doesn't show up in the novel anymore.  Not.  Once.

I got to thinking about this while writing Fight or Flight.  That novel centers around one guy, but there are literally dozens of other that drop in, and a few factor in in a big way.  However, I have to keep reminding myself to use them.  Some are necessarily killed off or are left behind, but others go on the journey with humanity to a new home, but I rarely talk about them.

It got me wondering what the audience thinks.  A few play big parts in the beginning, but their role isn't as important later on.  Does that mean I should forget about them?  Few of my more favorite authors seem to do this(King, Turtledove, Rowling), so I get the feeling I'm missing something.  While I want the plot to resolve, I don't want readers to walk away wondering what happened to some character they grew attached to who disappeared forever.

Does anyone else have this issue?  How do you keep players involved, or how do you provide closure when those characters are past their wear-out date?

No comments:

Post a Comment