I’ve encountered an interesting problem with my writing this year. Although not altogether unexpected, it’s still something I’m working on getting to grips with.
I am writing book five in my Banbury Cross Murder Mystery series, which means I am now well into the series. My overall story arcs are coming along nicely and my cast of central, ongoing characters are well established.
The problem I have noticed is that my two leading characters are evolving. That’s no bad thing because it helps to keep them fresh and adds depth to them as individuals. If they didn’t develop and adapt to the experiences they go through then it would probably leave them looking a little static, more cardboard cut-out than realistic human-beings.
My problem, however, comes from the simple fact that I am getting to know these two policemen better and better with each story I write. And that’s not just the novels, which I publish, it’s also the short stories and character profiles I write by way of practice. As I come to understand them ever better, I’ve started dropping some aspects of their earlier selves and adding in new ones.
My concern is that readers will end up spending time with two characters who are very different to those that took their fancy at the outset. The change and development, therefore, needs to be carefully managed and not allowed to go feral.
So, I’ve a bit of an interesting challenge on my hands as I work out how to maintain some sort of balance between acceptable natural evolution, on the one hand, and undesired drastic change, on the other.