It occurred to me today that with each rewrite I do, I’m making my characters audition for a role in my book.
For example, in one rewrite a character may be stubborn, but in another a little less so. He/She may be inquisitive and confident, then more of a weak follower.
It isn’t that their characters completely change. But there are some differences that come out each time that I write about them.
And when I begin my final rewrite (the one before I move on to pacing and grammar), I settle upon the character I feel best fits the part and write them that way.
I realized this because I had been struggling with how I had written Peter in The King’s Son (who is the King’s son, by the way). When I had originally written him, he was more of a curious kid who wanted to impress his father. With newer rewrites, I found he was somewhat more of a child that was emotional and shy. He still said similar things and had similar actions. But those parts of his personality had changed.
Then, as I sat there, wondering about which personality I liked more, I thought about how different actors would bring different styles to their roles and how casting directors would think about which actor best fit the part before choosing them.
It was exactly what I was doing.
I should mention, though, that it also got me thinking about whether or not too many rewrites were good for a story. While it’s nice to be able to choose from different characters, I think it’s important to stick to the original manuscript as much as possible. But that’s a debate for another time and really has nothing to do with what I’m writing about here now.
So back to the audition: the characters are written over and over again, changing subtly each time. I think about which one I think speaks truest to the story, then choose which one gets into the final rewrite.
Well, okay, maybe it’s not all too interesting. But I thought it was pretty cool.
I may even buy myself one of those folding chairs I see on all movie sets (in the movies, anyway).
Well, okay, no, I won’t that. But I still think it’s pretty cool.