Downton Abbey Writing Lesson #2!
At the beginning of the new season, we find out that ‘O’Brian’ leaves in the dead of night, which requires a new lady’s maid to come in. Instead of bringing in a totally new character, the writers chose to bring in one from a previous season. In writing a novel or story, we have similar choices to make.
Sometimes our stories get crowded. We have parents and coaches and neighbors and friends and teachers and ministers, etc, and all serve a purpose. However, I’m sure we’ve all read stories where we find ourselves paging back to try to sort through who is who, and thus we are pulled out of the story. What we can do, and what the Downton folks did, is to combine two characters into one. Can your minister character also be the coach? The neighbor also the teacher? The new lady’s maid at Downton is also the snaky maid, Edna Braithwaite, who was previously dismissed for inappropriate behavior with Sybil’s new husband, Tom Branson. Not only does this eliminate another new character, it introduces immediate conflict, which is always a good thing:)
So, give your characters a good looking over and see if any two can be merged into one. I’d love to hear about it!