You see, I have a character who is giving me mixed messages about whether she should be kept or not. I have a few options for what I can do with her. She's got good conflict potential for my MC down the track, and she lightens the mood of the story in places because my MC can be quite dark. She wants to join the fight. Her family were all killed by the Big Evil Antagonist afterall, so she has a reason to get in there.
At the same time she's just kind of... useless. She gets scared in the fight scenes and doesn't help and it's up to the other characters to convince her to keep going, and to rescue her from time to time.
This could just be a symptom of not developing the character well enough.
The way I see it I have three options:
- Kill her off. It'll create some instantaneous conflict but I think, since she hasn't been part of the story for all that long, it will feel a bit superficial.
- Leave her behind. She's served her purpose in the story in helping the MC grow. Leave her somewhere and keep going without her.
- Go back to square one, develop the character a bit more, see if she can be fleshed out so she's not such a drain on everyone else's energy.
How do you deal with characters who won't play ball? Do you cull or compromise? How do you know it's just not working anymore?