An Inside Look at Revision: Should The Character Stay or Should He Go?

Hugh Welch Diamond
Melancholia Passing into Mania*
Aubrey: Remnants of Transformation is available on Amazon and Smashwords. I posted notes about the process of revision for every chapter.

Chapter 2:

It is difficult to eliminate a character. We spend time with them, we come to know them . . . but if they don't help the story . . . !

A major player, who will eventually get his own book, Lord Simon shows up in Chapter 2. 

In the original version of Aubrey, Lord Simon did not show up until the very end. Instead his nephew Malcolm played the role of handsome rake/possible love interest.

There were several problems with Malcolm: he never really got paid off; he wasn't that interesting a character; I was spending way too much time on a guy who was fundamentally a jerk.

I'm a fan of the reformed rake character. However, I wanted Aubrey the novella and Aubrey the person to not go down that path. I'll discuss Aubrey's legitimate love interest later; in the original version, I had to keep pointing out that a furrowed brow, unending angst, and troubled past should send up huge red flags for any woman (or man): Stay away! Stay away! (In well-written reformed rake books, the rake reforms himself rather than waiting around for someone to fix him.) 

So when Eugene suggested getting rid of Malcolm, I had no problem excising his part in the story. Any aspect of Malcolm truly important to the plot, I just moved over to his uncle Lord Simon. Lord Simon now holds the stage!

*The photograph was taken by British psychiatrist/photographer Hugh Welch Diamond who operated in the mid to late nineteenth century. Apparently, he believed that having their photographs taken could help patients' recovery; in chicken-and-the-egg territory, it seems clear that for Diamond at least, photography trumped psychiatry. And I can't blame him. As a metaphor for physical and mental entrapment, the above photograph is perfect!

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