Everyone had that kid in their class who sat quietly in the back of the room. They were friendly, they did their schoolwork, but they were quiet and happily followed the leaders. Sometimes, they would start to speak and an entirely new personality would emerge. You could discover quiet little Sheila studied karote or went to Egypt in the summer and now quiet little Sheila isn't being quiet anymore.
This is the situation I'm facing at the moment. Within my rather large group of characters I've had someone who had been dozing rather contentedly on the sidelines. A few weeks ago I had admonished him to either start talking or accept he would be leaving and suddenly he began to talk. I've discovered all sorts of things about him. He has a wonderful sense of humor and a large sense of pride. He adores his wife. He's an observer. He likes things to be done properly. Now my problem is he won't shut up.
Don't think I'm not grateful, because I am. He has added another dimension to my story coming from an older perspective. I suspect that he and my oldest female character are going to form some sort of alliance as there is a great deal being said in the argument of tradition versus moving with the times. I adore him and am feeling somewhat guilty I threatened him with the delete key. But he needs to know his place.
This is a secondary character. Secondary. I have enough characters vying for the spotlight, I cannot have another. I can't let him take the place of one of my top tier characters; it throws the balance off. I have considered it and so far, I can't see a way to make it work.
My hope is that he's going to fade back to sleep for a while and show up again later. I do, however, have the suspicion I'm being optimistic. I seem to have awakened a monster.
How do you make your characters go back to sleep? Or do you go along for the ride?