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Character confusion and complete consternation

Okay, so much of the problem I'm having with my WIP is coming from the criss-crossing my characters seem to insist on doing with each other. I should have known when I titled this story, Tangle of Matter and Ghost, that I was sure to curse myself.... and this Voodoo hex may have no cure   >_<

Quick list of characters:
Aggie            Joseph           Billy          Ralph       Chester      Jefferson      Ambrose       Charlotte
Emily            Aldia              Benjamin   Esther      Letty          Marie          Jebediah        Granny
Preacher       Nathaniel

Now the ties:
Aggie/Joseph-- Runaway slaves dabbling in Voodoo

Ol' Gray Granny-- Healer that taught Aggie "healing" Voodoo, not what she now practices

Ambrose/Charlotte-- Carmichael family, parents of Emily and Esther, also underground railroad station masters

Emily-- Mother of Aldia, wife of Benjamin (who runs off, leaving wife and daughter to fend alone)

Esther-- Orphanage mistress where Billy is kept until he runs off and meets up with Aggie/Joseph

Letty-- Mother of Marie, who "runs" to the Carmichael station house on their way to freedom

Jefferson-- Slave master of Aggie/Joseph/Granny/Letty, hires bounty hunter to bring his slaves back

Nathaniel-- Bounty hunter tracking Aggie/Joseph and eventually Letty/Marie

Billy/Ralph/Chester-- All wind up binding themselves to Aggie and become part of her "band" of travelers

Jebediah--Brickmaker/contractor that Ambrose hires to build his house, built on cursed land (Indian slaughterings), built with cursed bricks (bones of the Indians ground into the clay)

And, all of this is happening with the Civil War as a backdrop--
It's the balance between the emotional connections of the characters and the tragic histories of slavery and war that I'm hoping to find.
That, and to be able to lay out the back-story of the cursed land and the Civil War battles without devoting great lengths of chapter space to them---- they are meant to be a 'backdrop' after all, and not another sub-plot ...oy


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