Quick Note: For those of you reading this on an iPhone, iPad or iPod, Blogger’s comment box and those devices do not go together. My phone freezes when I try to reply to comments and then won’t post. Why? I don’t know.
For whatever reason, somewhere during the first draft of my WIP, I wrote a few chapters with this one character, Lady Rossmore, in it. I think I created her to a) fill up the middle of my book and b) to contrast her with Mrs. Braddock, a saucy widow who lives in my village and is all up in my MC’s business.
There’s some chitchat about Lady Rossmore, who is a countess, the widow of a dead Irish earl who died during the 1798 rebellion possibly looking for a husband, and look, we have this widower in the parish, after all. Problem was, Lady Rossmore has 5 kids and as much as I loved writing the few scenes she was in (three, all told), I could never get her to come across as less-than-haughty and cold.
I described her like this:
She always reminded me of Lady Mary Crawley from Downton Abbey (Mrs. Braddock is totally based on Anne Boleyn from The Tudors).
But Lady Rossmore was literally in three scenes. I made one of them pretty important–Lady Rossmore’s son, the current earl, is cruel to my MC’s daughters–but after I finished the second draft, I wondered if I should cut her out entirely. What was her purpose in this story? Was she a subplot? Not really. She gets mentioned once after she leaves the story. She never connects with the MC. Her presence is an excuse to talk about the impending Act of Union, which fused Ireland to England.
My beta didn’t seem to have strong feelings on whether I should cut her out or not, but “please get rid of that vaguely pornographic affair Miles has with Mrs. Braddock.”
Which I did.
But yesterday, I was reading Chapter Thirty, where the second mention of Lady Rossmore goes like this:
“With the Act of Union…” Juliet put her palms up. “Her son has the title. I wondered whether she might not have been searching for another husband.”
“I suppose I’ll have to find that out when she comes.”
Love the dialogue, but couldn’t see a way to salvage this pointless sequence. Not when I should be devoting space to Pearl the nanny or the matter of Mr. Taylor and his son Nathaniel’s trust in terms of subplots. Instead, I kept the crucial scene with Alex, Mady, and Lady Rossmore’s son Lord Rossmore because he gets farmed out to his mother’s cousin for a little visit. His mother is talked about, but never makes an appearance and I was able to cut out six hundred more words or something.
I kept her scenes in a separate doc though because I thought they were well written. Maybe they’ll be the root of something else one day.