On Sunday, I did something I've never done before in my novels, short stories, or any of my works. I fired a character.
I can admit all this out loud now, because I think I'm past it.
I've been struggling with my third novel, 'Chasing Monsters'. Granted it was a rough summer, with many upsets and sadness, but it felt like more than that. For awhile I couldn't put my finger on it.
As the reviews of 'Thoeba' roll in, I've been getting a little nervous. Four and five star ratings should make me happy, right? Well, they do. But now I'm feeling the pressure. If everyone thinks my debut novel was that awesome, everything that follows should be MORE so. Eep.
So last week, after a few too many Palm Bay Red Grapefruit coolers, I told my loving and ever-so-PROUD-of-me hubby that I'm secretly worried that Chasing Monsters is just a rehashed version of Thoeba.
There, I typed it.
Oh sure, there's new faces with different lives, a new plot, and different villains...But we're still in Alberta, and we're still dealing with angels and demons.
I couldn't shake the feeling. Devaki is not Thoeba, and my hero is not Peter. Noelle isn't anything like anyone I've written before. Much to my delight, my villains are doing things I wasn't expecting.
So what's the problem? More like, WHO is the problem. It's Max. Max is Noelle's little brother. He's a teenaged computer geek. Sound familiar? If you've read Thoeba, you will recognize that personality as Zach, Peter's teenaged computer wizard son.
But no, I thought. He's different! He's only thirteen, and he's got a snarky attitude...just like Kayla, Zach's little sister. Hand smacks forehead moment. Plus he complicates the story. I don't want to give spoilers, but I can tell you he won't be with Noelle when the feces flies.
You know that feeling you get when someone useless you work with or employ finally leaves or gets the boot? Yeah, I haz that. I can move forward knowing I deleted something the reader wouldn't appreciate. Usually I'm attached to my characters, and maybe I should feel bad. But the truth is, I barely knew Max. He was an acquaintance, and when you write people, that just won't do.
I can't believe it took me nine chapters to figure this out.