So, in the original Magic Under Glass, there was a clockwork man named Roman. He looked like an ordinary sort of dude on the outside, but there was a big reveal where you find out GASP! HE'S CLOCKWORK.
Still, it was just my luck. I couldn’t even fall in love with some sensitive gentleman in the crowd, no, I had to fall for the clockwork man whose very life seemed to be in the hands of the enemy. This wasn’t even like me. I didn’t fall in love; I always supposed I would enter into it, in a slow, practical fashion. Famous last words.
I didn’t want to like Roman. I didn’t want to like anyone associated with Hollin Perris. But I couldn’t help it.
Roman stopped in the middle of the room, and bowed in my direction. When he stood, he raked his fingers back through his disheveled brown hair, and then looked at me, with eyes dark and strange in a way I couldn’t quite place, but compelling. His features, though not traditionally handsome, made a harmonious blend of intelligence, kindness, and a touch of intriguing sadness.
Nimira falls in love with Roman, and has to rescue him from Hollin, who was a complete and utter jerk. (Note, Hollin's name used to be Hollin Perris! I changed it when I realized I couldn't have an Erris and a Perris!) At the end there is a big confrontation wherein Roman punches someone, and then gets taken down by magic. Roman had all the things a hero should have--a tragic past, hobbies (he played piano and painted too!), a sense of humor, a heroic nature...
And yet, I was pretty blase about him, I must admit. Meanwhile, Nimira had a ghost friend, who had lived a decadent life in the late 18th-century equivalent amongst a large family abroad, come to Lorinar for school, fallen in love with a chambermaid or something, and been shot in some duel or something. He was a dandy who smoked and talked about girls a lot, and was quite a bit funnier than Roman. He had become a ghost because he was too scared to pass to the next world, but it helping Nimira, he became more courageous, and at the end he goes, finally, to his true death.
“You don’t seem like the others,” the ghost said.
“Clearly. I’m from Tiansher, in the Shai Mountains, and before I came here, I was a dancer.”
“Exotic and lovely. You remind me of my youth back in Drussa. Such parties we had, with all sorts of foreigners and eccentrics. My uncle once hosted the entourage of a princess of Tajeneer. You’ve never seen such flexible women.”
I blushed, and realized this conversation was getting far more comfortable than it ought to. “Sir, you really should go.”
“I’m sorry—how rude. Ghosts have no manners whatsoever. Let me introduce myself. My name is Erris Tarschirbe, so you need not call me sir.”
This was not a popular decision with beta readers. I had glorious plans for the Queen of the Dead to offer Erris another chance at life in a sequel, but (wisely) beta readers pointed out, what if there WAS no sequel? You can't have the most charming guy DIE! Why doesn't Nimira end up with him anyway?
I didn't see how Nimira could end up with Erris, though. Roman was such a big part of the plot, and Erris was a GHOST. How could I--? But--? *sputter*
Well, obviously, with the final version, I had a revelation that I could combine them. Some of Roman's heroic nature and his situation was given to Erris. And it wasn't until revisions with my editor that Erris became a fairy prince (and got a last name change)! I also killed his smoking habit, cause, you know, it's one thing for the ghost friend to smoke, but for the love interest, ick.
I also learned an important revision lesson--where two characters aren't quite working, one might work just fine.
Next: How Hollin Perris, moustache-twirling villain sans moustache, became Byronic almost-hero Hollin Parry.