What happened to that guy?

The forgotten character who hasn’t spoken in chapters. Yeah I know, sometimes people are forgettable. That is a problem. Now I have to bring them back in the storyline.

This has happened to me twice. I will admit it, because this is an opportunity in my opinion. If I’ve neglected them it’s for a reason. I have imagined the story progressing without them. I figure out why, and then find a solution. Are they boring? Not enough personality? Are they crucial to the story? Do they complicate things unnecessarily?

For me it’s a chance to spice someone up or darken their edges. Make them more likely to insult, or cower or perhaps say something funny. A good villain can be born from dialog neglect. If I’ve neglected them maybe my characters have neglected him too. Make it an issue within the story. I could go back and make them moody or shy. The options are endless.

My advice about inadvertently leaving a character behind.

In my opinion a flat character is your chance to shake it up. If all else fails, kill them in a relevant way to the plot or main character development. That way the reader won’t be asking “what happened to Bob?” Because they will know. Bob stepped into traffic and was hit by a car. He was sad and distracted about Juan ignoring him for three freaking chapters. Now Juan is riddled with remorse.

-Sheryl

 

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