What To Do With Alex

Mum’s visiting me here in Japan, she arrived on 24 June.  When I’ve not been at work mostly we’ve been out and about, so I’ve not really done much work on Tom the last week.  Pan also, I’m sorry to say, is suffering some neglect, though that is a fairly common occurrence with him.  I promise, I have been transcribing his notes and making significant additions, making them legible in his sweet little green book.  Apparently my awful tiny writing syndrome has a name: micrographia.  It’s necessary to concentrate quite hard when I’m copying to make sure I don’t wind up doing it again – have to write slowly, preferably printing, in nice big roundish letters.  I’ve only got one more scene left of Pan already written, so I’ll try to get ahead somewhat with him before posting it, so I’m ready with more.  Shall probably fail with that, though.

So, current projects haven’t had much work done on them of late.  However, I took mum to school with me today, and between classes she finished – for the second time – my first novel, my Kien.  Apparently it was more satisfying with the alterations and additions, which is good.  Also, apparently I’m a very mean person.  That could also be good.  Her main constructive comments – putting aside the bountiful grammatical and spelling errors she’s recorded for me to correct – were pointing out some somewhat less than realistic medical situations (mum’s a doctor, so she’s qualified to – and I was hoping she would – comment on these things), but they can be re-researched and fixed easily enough.  It’s just detail.  The  problem with Alex, however, may not be so easily solved.

Alex is a main character, but he’s not the main character.  He is vital, a link between two storylines, but as he is the predominant driving force behind neither he doesn’t have as much page time as other mains.  On top of this, his character is so simple and lovely and comparatively healthy.  This may make everything all the more alarming when his fate unfolds, friendly, mild, and mostly normal boy that he is.  But still.  We worry that he may slide into the background in people’s minds, and in the background is not where Alex belongs.

I feel I’ve been somewhat unfair to Alex.  He didn’t begin as a main character, but grew steadily in importance as he and the story were written.  It was for him that I made most of the changes I spent the majority of January, February, and March drafting and inserting throughout the book.  Though I hope the quality is reasonably high, the quantity of his appearances still aren’t equal to that of many others’.  Also, much of his page time is made up of thoughts and recollections, not actions.  It’s difficult to show him doing much – he’s quite crook during most of the story, at home moping around, eating Butter Menthols and trying to get a little exam study in if he can muster up the will.

Alex needs more attention.  More time.  But I’ve covered most of his background that I wanted to provide, and with a story already so long and not much that can be cut (a professional editor would probably disagree) I’m not sure there’s any space to fill.  More, with him being so relatively ordinary – of course he’s not ordinary in the least, but he’s so together anyone unable to see inside his head would be completely taken in – and spending most of the story feeling terrible and not leaving his flat, I don’t quite know what more to do with him that would benefit the plot or his character development.

Poor, sweet Alex.  He has it a bit rough, in the story and out.  Mum loves him, though.  Suppose that’s as good a reason as any to give him all the page time he deserves.  But how?  What more can I do with him?

Further brainstorming required.


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