As I began revising, I realized that several of my POV characters had substantially fewer scenes than others. (POV = point of view)
In Book One, my POV characters are Vidar, Odin, Hodir, Frigg, Loki, Vafthrudnir and Hyrrokin. Up until the rewrite, the book was dominated by Vidar and Odin scenes (and words). They’re what brought me into the world, so I had the best handle on them.
Each of the other characters had anywhere from 3% to maybe 10% of the total scenes in their perspectives. It wasn’t enough. Why bother writing in their POV if the narrative didn’t lend them (roughly) equal weight?
After a long, dispassionate look at those “minor” characters (which included input from beta readers), I decided that, yes, they all brought something unique and cool to the story — i.e., I couldn’t tell the story in the way I wanted without including them.
But, I had to flesh ’em out. The way I did that was to give each “neglected” POV more impactful, meaningful “screen” time. Here’s a really short synopsis of what I changed and why (without spoilers! as River Song would say):
- Hodir: In the current draft, he does all same stuff, but his motivations & interactions have completely changed — he went from being whiny & weak to having a defined desire. (BTW, “Hodor” and Hodir have nothing in common. Wewt.)
- Vafthrudnir: Awesome figure in the myths and meant to counter both Odin and Vidar. By giving him more scenes, I’m able to better show the contrasts between Aesir & Jotunn. He went from shadowy figure to a bit more defined, but mostly in ways that show up in Book Two and beyond.
- Loki: Dang, he’s tough. Such a pivotal figure and, thanks to the cool movies, really well known. Suffice it to say that my Loki is as true to the myths as my feeble talents permit while also making him the hero of his own story.
- Frigg: She had too few scenes because I was having trouble with her story arc. That’s partly b/c I had cast her in a more passive role. Giving her more scenes meant making her more active — and now that I’ve figured out her arc through Book Two, she’s a blast to write.
- Hyrrokin: Yes, in the myths her name is spelled with two k’s. Mine has one b/c two k’s looks weird, kk (ken who’s kkoming to kkill me)? Again, I was baffled by her story arc. I had a couple cool scenes, but that was it. After a long while, with my subconscious whirring & clicking, I now know her arc through Book Two, as well.
So, to bring it right round like a record baby, my current draft now has a roughly equal number of scenes across all the POV characters. Not only is the book stronger simply b/c those characters have more depth, but b/c I put time into making their POVs suck less I discovered new plot turns & ideas that also improved the book.
Example: There’s no way Frigg would do this. OK, what would she do? This. But, well, crap. Having her do that changes X number of scenes. *gnashing of teeth* … Oh well.
Because of this kind of dialog (with myself), I made change after change to all of the above POVS that rippled backward and forward through the entire manuscript — and into Book Two which may help fix some of the problems in it.