Q&A

What Should I Do With a Character Who Won’t Be Relevant Until Later?

questions and answer talk bubbles

Hey guys, so in my story I have several main characters, the problem being that one of them doesn’t do much until later on but I still want them to be involved. She is the heir of her father’s kingdom, but not really because, haha, plot… and politics of medieval fantasy. I’m wondering if I should still involve her in the story and introduce her later on, or do you guys have any advice that would make their POV more interesting?

-CJ

Hi CJ,

Having an important character twiddle her thumbs for most of the book really isn’t good for the story, especially if she has her own point of view. Since she does, I’m assuming she’s not even in the same place or otherwise in contact with the characters who are actually doing things. If you have a sequel planned, the easiest way to fix this is probably to delay adding her as an important character until book two. You could still introduce her as a minor character in this book, but you wouldn’t want her to play a major role at the end, and you definitely don’t want her to be a POV character when she’s not doing anything.

This doesn’t mean it’s impossible to find some way for her to get involved in the plot early on, but that would require a lot more revisions if she’s isolated from the other protagonists. To give you useful advice on integrating her, we’d need to know all the particulars. That means doing a content edit on an outline of your story. However, if you haven’t seen it yet, you might get some ideas from our article on how to make multiple viewpoints more engaging.

If she’s actually in contact with the other characters and just isn’t doing anything to influence the plot, making her relevant earlier will be easier. Check out 18 Ways for Protagonists to Contribute and push yourself to make her relevant. Give her goals to proactively pursue that change the course of events.

Altogether, this may be a time when you need to kill your darling.

Best of luck,

Chris

Keep the answer engine fueled by becoming a patron today. Want to ask something? Submit your question here.

Read more about

 

Comments

  1. Dave L

    One thing you could do is give her her own sub-plot until she gets involved in the main plot

    Of course, this has its own pitfalls…
    https://mythcreants.com/blog/six-novels-that-struggle-with-multiple-povs/
    https://mythcreants.com/blog/lessons-from-the-fractured-plotting-of-the-collapsing-empire/

    And you might want to make sure her sub-plot seems somewhat relevant, take care not to let it overwhelm the main plot, and maybe wrap it up at some point

Leave a Comment

By submitting a comment, you confirm that you have read and agree to our comments policy (updated 9/3/18). We send comment data to outside parties for spam filtering and other services. See our privacy policy for details.