Rewriting – Dealing With Problem Characters
As part of rewriting one of my past NaNoWriMo projects, I have to deal with a few issues. Some of these issues deal with some of the characters. Already I have looked at one character to knock his power level down. Now I have to look at another character for completely different reasons.
Problem Character – Quin
Quin represents a unique problem, or several problems, as it were. And it seems that each possible solution opens up more problems.
Quin is a superhuman with five unique powers. When I originally created him, he would split into five different heroes, each with their own powers and look. This is why he was called Quin, for five. The five powers were: super fast flight, superhuman strength, invisibility, hyperintelligence and electric powers. Dealing with him initially led to issues with character bloating, even though these five were really just one character.
Thus came a shift in Quin’s powers. Now he did not split into separate heroes, but shifted between them. He became less of a one man super team, but more like the old Doom Patrol character Crazy Jane. Even this similarity created an issue.
Even more difficult is how exactly would I write this character. Does each version have its own personality along with its own power? Or is the overall Quin still the dominant mind in each form. I have had little experience writing a character that could potentially have a multiple personality disorder, and I did not want to accidentally misrepresent the disorder.
Solution #1, And Its Problem
I would do a little… well, really, a lot of research on multiple personality disorders to make this character work better. But, even with research, I am still afraid that I could fall into some sort of Hollywood trap, portraying him based not on actual research, but on some Hollywood trope that does not really capture the nature of the disorder.
Solution #2, And Its Problem
I could change the nature of the power. It is possible that what we see in Quin is not innate, but caused by some sort of outside situation. The problem is that it may take far longer to explain how this happened. Or, worse yet, I still fall into the same problems as with the multiple personality disorder, especially since this would imply that there are multiple personalities residing within Quin.
Solution #3, And Its Problem
I could merge the powers into one individual. But, the obvious problem is that this would create a far stronger superhero, possibly even stronger than the ones that are supposed to be the main characters of this story.
Solution #4, And Its Problem
The most obvious solution would be to eliminate the character entirely and replace him with other characters. The problem with this is the greater potential for character bloat in the story.
At the moment, there are only one or two characters who can fit some of the gaps left by eliminating Quin. One is my speedster, who, admittedly, is actually pretty underused now. He would obviously replace super fast flyer, even if he can’t fly himself.
But this does not really deal with the fact that there are a few chapters that feature this character, along with his involvement in the finale of the story. I am not sure that it would be possible to wedge in any of the other established main characters into these chapters. And any new character I brought in could possibly end up appearing in only those chapters.
Needless to say, dealing with this character is going to require a Hell of a lot of work.