Adorable, isnâ€™t she?
This picture represents Koko Doyle, one of the four major characters in my book.Â Sheâ€™s a half-Japanese, half-Irish kid, newly orphaned when the book starts.Â To say that she is out of place in 1929 Chicago would be putting it mildly.Â She is emotionally mature but socially awkward, stoic but very loving. And though she’s not the point of view character, she’s the reason I wrote the book.
Although her relationship with my protagonist forms the emotional core of Book One, itâ€™s fair to say that Koko isnâ€™t the most active character.Â In fact, itâ€™s fair to say that she spends a good portion of her time getting rescued.Â That is fine, and I think it worked well for Book One.Â The problem is Book Two.
I promised myself that in this book, Koko would have a more active role.Â I would use her, and not just as motivation for another character.Â She would have Stuff to Do.
Problem?Â In a book that involves gangsters, shoot outs, police brutality, and a body count of no less than three, thereâ€™s not a whole lot for a nine-year-old to do.
Seriously.Â What can I do with this kid that doesnâ€™t require her guardian, Kitty, to be either incompetent or wildly irresponsible?Â Iâ€™m not going to write one of those books where the protagonist takes her kid with her to search the bad guyâ€™s lair. I always want to throw those across the room.
Which means I am left with the following options:
- Give Koko a storyline that is orthogonal to the main plot but will nevertheless wrap in somehow, perhaps by providing a vital clue
- Have Koko secretly tag along or otherwise wind up in plot heavy situations through no fault of Kitty
- Bring a lot of the bookâ€™s action into Kittyâ€™s home, and other locales Koko may frequent
Right now Iâ€™m leaning toward a medley of all three.Â Which I guess is another way of saying that I haven’t really tackled this decision yet. Step #4 of the Snowflake awaits.
(Yeah, I made that picture using the Sims 3.Â Thatâ€™s just the sort of dork I am.)