WIP Coaching: Chloe – Merge And Purge

FYI: I’ve been working with Gabriela Lessa on my newest WIP Chloe, so that’s what this is about. Check out her site to learn more about WIP coaching.
I had my final WIP coaching Skype session with Gabi where she reviewed my first 50 pages. Now it’s time to purge and merge because apparently I have a few unnecessary characters, which muddle up the story.

Whom shall I cut?

So I’m sorry, but Gia, Dirk and Byron… you’re all gone.

So why are they gone?

Just to give you background, Chloe is an 18 year old freshman in college. Murphy becomes her best friend. Sasha becomes her girlfriend. Devyn is Chloe’s suitemate at the dorms.

Gia. She is Chloe’s suitemate in the dorms, roommate to Devyn. She’s not as important overall because Chloe has more of a connection to Devyn. And I haven’t really gotten their characters down, so Devyn and Gia are not that different. So I am merging Gia into Devyn and making her Chloe’s roommate. (Why didn’t I just do that in the first place?) This will take a little work as Gia’s name pops up a lot and I’ll have to adjust a few minor scenes, but no big issues with that.

Dirk: He is a friend of Murphy’s who doesn’t make a physical appearance in the story and is only referenced every now and again. Now Murphy has 2 other friends who are more important, who I don’t want to get rid of. Buy why have Dirk (who is mentioned early on) if I’m not using him? He’s not important really, so Dirk got the ax.

Byron: He is Sasha’s fiancé. He also does not make an appearance but is only there for backstory on Sasha. But the problem is that this backstory sort of creates little mysteries about Sasha that I don’t really want or need. Gabi explained that because I referenced him enough, the readers might expect something of him in the story—those little mysteries I mentioned. I think when I first starting thinking this story over, I considered bringing the ex-fiancé in, a bad guy who shows up to cause trouble. But the story didn’t go that way and he never shows. So Byron gets the ax too, as I will take out some of this Sasha backstory and he will be referred to as her fiancé.

So goodbye to Gia, Dirk and Byron—we won’t miss you.

Obviously not all characters have a starring role, but I’m learning that I need to figure out who is important and who isn’t. Then get rid of the ones I don’t need.

So do you ever have too many unnecessary characters in your WIPs?
And is it easy to remove them?

Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers out there.

5 Responses

  1. It can be painful getting rid of characters, but if you agree you don’t need them, it can also be liberating to obliterate them 🙂

  2. I tend not to have too many characters. If anything I need to add more to create more depth to the story.

    It’s good that you’re okay with getting rid of them. It’s gotta be hard to get rid of characters you love.

  3. That was brave of you to cut those chars, but its all for making a better story. I’ll have to check out Gabriela Lessa’s site. 🙂


  4. In response to your response – that happens to me a lot (and to most writers I think). We can read a story of ours over and over & still not see something obvious that another reader will pick up right away 🙂 That’s why it’s essential to have beta readers!

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