Welcome back! As I inch closer and closer to finishing the final draft of my novel, more characters are ending up in the trash can. Seriously, this shit's like The Hunger Games. Thankfully, though, none of my characters have names like Effervesa Guildarch or Auxopa Tolcantro. That's right. I'm calling you out, Suzanne Collins. Anyway. What was I talking about? Oh yeah. It's time for the second installment of my blog's newest feature: Faux Memoriam!
The subject of this week's obituary is none other than Britt. Yes, it's short for Brittany and no, she doesn't have a last name. Britt was born in 1992. A true nineties kid, she grew up drinking Capri Suns and watching Nickelodeon. How disgustingly relatable is that? It's astounding how such a deep and nuanced character only lasted one draft. Unlike last week's Benjamin Rossedale, Britt had no such staying power (or luck).
Britt was a main character in the novel's very first draft. She was one quarter of my protagonist's friend group. Also, she was part of the family that owns the lakeside mansion where most of the action takes place. This means she was rich. Filthy rich. She grew up sheltered in a bubble made of money and live-in chefs. Her key character trait was she only ate chicken fingers. After smoking the devil's lettuce for the first time midway through the book, she learns to enjoy all sorts of other tasty animals. This compelling arc included zero stakes and zero consequences for failure, all while being delivered with the subtlety of a freight train. In short, Britt was the good girl. The voice of reason during many of the booze-soaked scenes. Beyond that, she didn't offer much except other traits ripped directly from the sheltered rich girl trope.
I'd be remiss if I didn't mention Britt's connection to my current female lead, Jacqueline Stanton. These two ladies' fates are intertwined. When I sat down to outline my second draft, Britt was cut and Jacqueline was given all her good lines and scenes. Combining characters is one of my favorite editing techniques. I'm proud of the female lead I've created from what started out as two equally awful, borderline offensive character sketches.
Surprisingly, Britt almost made a comeback in my third draft! The idea was to keep her in as an unseen character. I adore characters who are talked about but never show up. They're a great way to evoke the sense of a greater world living outside the direct narrative frame. My protagonist and his friends were going to mention Britt as a sort of running joke--throwaway lines like "I wish Britt was here." Then, when they progressed to telling stories about her, the tales would get taller and taller to the point of absurdity. This is a rip-off of the Bill Brasky SNL sketch, which, in turn, is a rip off of an improv game. Art is a lie. Nothing is real.
More recently, Britt's been off to bigger and better things. She finally graduated from Brown. It took her six years because she accidentally majored in gender and sexuality studies when she misread it as study hall. Let me tell you--Britt was not ready for frank discussions about intercourse. Even with that minor setback, she's now ready to celebrate graduation with a six-month guided backpacking luxury bus trip through Europe (only the white parts). Last time we spoke, she told me how excited she was to discover new and exotic McDonald's menu items.
And now it's time for what you've all been waiting for: the dearly departed LIGHTNING ROUND!
Favorite food: chicken fingers (No ketchup! Don't even think about it.)
Favorite clothing accessory: black leggings tucked into Uggs
Favorite movie: Clueless, but only because she thinks Paul Rudd is totally kind of a Baldwin.
Favorite photographer: N/A
City of birth: Woodsgrove, New Jersey
Alma mater: Brown University
Actor who would've played her in the film adaptation of my book: Zosia Mamet
Actor she would've wanted to play her in the film adaptation of my book: Emma Watson
Deepest fear: laying awake in bed at night at night, unable to sleep, gripped by the foreboding sense she's drifting through life on her family's money and will never be able to forge any real connections to the world around her
Favorite animal: puppies!