How Much Should Your Character Know?

It’s always a challenge to keep your characters from knowing too much.  After all, your characters come out of your head and you are the one with all the answers.  How can they not know too much?

I realized that I had the problem after one of my protagonists acted too understanding towards another character. That compassion, while praiseworthy was not natural.  The character was rude, obnoxious and mean to my protagonist.  I didn’t even notice it until it was pointed out to me.   I had to step back and really evaluate what was going on.

I came to the conclusion that the reaction was normal only if the protagonist knew the demons that haunted the mean character.  Since the protagonist was not psychic it didn’t make sense.  I had to rewrite large sections of dialogue that defined how they interacted.  It meant I had to work harder to define and grow the relationship.  The characters actually argued and fought along the way.  In other words, the relationship was normal.

The gotcha with this was that I tried really hard to only let the characters “know” the things that came to them through direct experience and I still missed the piece that defined how they treated one another.  It was an insidious little problem that I almost missed.  It took an outsider’s perception to point it out to me.

Now that I know I can be extra diligent and hopefully the way my characters interact will be more believable and the stories better.

Personal Update

My rewrite is almost complete. and one of my YA novels is currently in front of a publisher.  My podcast now has two episodes complete and posted and a third is on its way.  Beyond that, nothing new to report.


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