Excerpt from Addleberg Lang:
When I started writing Magic Stones, there were five siblings; Jasper, Jasmine, Ruby, Topaz and Emerald. I finished writing the first book Reign of Chaos and was working on the second when I had a friend start acting as my editor. (Yeah, I was totally jumping the gun.) I cleaned up the first five chapters of Reign of Chaos and sent them to her. Then, after she had read them, I asked her ten questions. The most important of those questions turned out to be, “If you could ax one character from the story, who would it be?” She immediately answered “Topaz,” and confirmed the very thing I had been refusing to think.
You know a character is truly unnecessary when you keep forgetting to write them. And yet I stuck with Topaz for one and a half books. I finally got rid of him and received some severe displeasure from other friends; they loved him, but once I explained it, they admitted that he was an unnecessary character as well. My lesson to you is this, if you have more than one person tell you that you don’t need that character, GET RID OF THEM. Ceasing Topaz’s existence was the best thing I have ever done for Magic Stones. The story line and narrative was tighter and I had more pages to devote to other, more important characters. As darling as a character may be, if they don’t fit, ax ‘em.