Some excellent advice here from crime writer Raimey Gallant
THE FOLLOWING CONVERSATION, WHICH IS BASED ON A REAL EMAIL EXCHANGE WITH MY AGENT, HAS BEEN SET IN A 1920’S HARD-BOILED DETECTIVE NOVEL FOR DRAMATIC PURPOSES.
So I pick up the telephone and wouldn’tcha know—it’s my agent. “Too many characters in your manuscript,” she says to me.
So I says to my agent, I says, “Well, golly. What do I do?”
“Kill two of ’em. Kill two of ’em dead.”
Course, I know my agent isn’t suggesting I put a hit out on my characters, but—ha!—wouldn’t it be a laugh if she was. “Suppose we edit out this one dame,” I says to her (I didn’t much like that character anyway), “but instead of killing this other fella, suppose we de-emphasize him. I can cut back his description, and hey, I can un-name him, too. That way, the amount of words devoted to him is more proportional-like, as far as…
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