This week, I’m on to one of the most objectively likable characters in The Breacher – Seth. Out of all the friends and family who I ran the book by, almost across the board, Seth was always a favorite. There’s an element of warmth and amiability to him that I think appeals to a lot of readers. He provides a lightheartedness to the story and the world that I believe is a vivid contrast to more serious characters like Nathan, Porter, and Desmond. In relation to Nathan – obviously an important relationship with the protagonist – Seth was designed as, essentially, a sidekick. In order to offset Nathan’s generally intense perspective, Seth’s kindness and childlike joy were mandatory. But Seth also manages to be a devoted confidant and ally to Nathan. In essence, Seth is a glue. He maintains Nathan’s connection with Dakota while also maintaining the connections within the team. Without Seth, The Breacher falls apart. With that in mind, it may come as a bit of a surprise that the Seth we know didn’t even exist in the first draft.
When The Breacher was being grown in my mind, I originally imagined Nathan with a close male friend on the team. As the story developed, however, that role was reduced and ultimately abandoned. Instead, Nathan’s closest relationship on Dakota was a girl named Rebecca who he met while she helped TC teach the Rookies. From there, their relationship developed into a romantic one. By the time I finished the first draft, though, I realized very quickly that Nathan’s connection to Rebecca felt extremely forced and weak. She contributed very little to the story, and her personality lacked any flare or originality. I remember watching an Honest Trailer on Youtube, and it was said of one character that she could be replaced with a house plant without changing the plot at all. After this, of course, I knew that Rebecca had to go.
The book would be greatly improved if she was replaced by a male best friend - one of my original ideas. But going through a draft, which at the time was 140 000 words, removing, and replacing an entire character – especially one with a romantic subplot – was an enormous undertaking. In the end, I ignored my laziness and did what I needed to do to make The Breacher the best it could be. Seeing how effective Seth turned out to be, I now understand how crucial this change was. Nathan received his best friend and confidant. Desmond was allowed to embrace a more natural role as a standoffish ally. Notably, Nathan's romantic potential was cleared for the second and third books in the trilogy.
Adding Seth was one of the most necessary and effective changes I ever made to The Breacher. Without him, the entire story would have been robbed of the charm Seth so effortlessly provides.