When you’ve got a great character in the wrong plot.


Meet Liam. He’s an unassuming grade-school teacher who really cares about his kids. The type you remember fondly when you’re grown and your children’s teachers just don’t understand. He’s no push-over and can stand up to a helicopter parent with a quiet inner-strength.

And when he’s shanghaied into a bank robbing motorcycle gang run by dragon-shifters, he makes for the most unsurprising captive ever.

Meet Kai. He’s an adrenaline junky who’s never held down a job for more than three months at a time. He drifts from place to place, making and breaking friendships along the way. The only one who’s ever been a constant in his life his is foster sister.

When he’s taken hostage by the same dragon motorcycle gang, he quickly makes their lives interesting.

These two are the incarnations of the same character. Liam was first, but 10,000 words in I realized 1) Not only are his action/reactions predictable because Liam is a A+ reliable guy, but 2) the only path for this story is a dark one.

Liam has too many roots to tie him to his old life. He’ll always want to go back home, and any relationship he forges with the hot hot hot leader of said motorcycle gang will be, at the very least, through dubious consent. He started as a prisoner and he will end as a prisoner — albeit, one in love.  I think it could be a good story. Just not one I wanted to tell.

I was at a crossroads. I could change the circumstances of the story to fit the Liam–Maybe I could tone down the hostage situation, alter some of the plot elements, not make Liam a prisoner at all–Or I could keep all that I liked about the world building and nix the troublesome character.

Don’t get me wrong. Kai also wants to go back home to his normal life, at first. His main problem is he’s a wild card in the otherwise orderly motorcycle gang. The hot hot hot leader has his work cut out just to keep his hostage from getting killed by the other gang members, and maybe at the end Kai will finally find a place to call home.

To make it easier on myself and aid in my mental visualization, I also changed up Kai’s description from Liam. He is 100% a brand new character, and 15k into a story I’m again excited about.

The novel, tentatively titled Draconem, looks like it’ll round out at 40 or 50k. I’m keeping Liam around, just in case he fits into a future plot.