I am revising a manuscript at the moment. I'm making it deeper, the relationships between my characters more meaningful. Giving them a bit more backstory.
I wrote this scene, where my protagonist is rushing to her on-again-off-again best friend's house in the hopes that what just happened, if she can be there for her friend they might just get their friendship back.
As she runs through the neighbourhood dressed only in her cookie monster pajamas, she thinks about fights they had in the past. How as kids my protagonist started spending a lot of time with her dad's colleague's son, EJ. And not as much with her best friend. Her best friend soon had an imaginary friend Liesl who she took great pleasure in listening to and recounting to my protagonist the horrible things Liesl had said about EJ. As soon as EJ moved away, Liesl was forgotten again.
The anecdote was getting too long so I had to cut this part out, so now there is no mention of Liesl the imaginary friend.
But that doesn't mean she doesn't still exist in the history of my story. She may never be mentioned, but I know she was there and she would have had some sort of impact on their friendship.
It feels like a secret I have, shared just between me and them. One day, hopefully, my book will hit the shelves and be read by hundreds or thousands (hopefully thousands) of people and they will feel like they know my characters as well as I do. And maybe they will.
But maybe they won't.