The Alchemist of Souls: Deleted Scenes
I found myself discarding a lot of scenes during the process of revising The Alchemist of Souls, but rather than let them languish on my hard drive, I thought I’d share them with my readers.
Note that I’m releasing them under a Creative Commons licence, whereby you are free to distribute these files provided you don’t remove the attribution information.
1: An Unexpected Meeting
First up is a sequence of short scenes between Mal, Ned, and one of Mal’s old college friends, Piers Ingram. It was intended to give an opportunity to reveal some of Mal’s background history, but I discovered I didn’t really have a role for Ingram in the rest of the book so I cut this section, merged him into another character, and dropped bits of information about Mal into other scenes.
2: Suffolk’s Men in Leeds
The second batch of scenes originally made up a large part of the chapter that introduces Coby, a seventeen-year-old Dutch girl who works for a London theatre company, disguised as a boy. I really enjoyed writing these backstage scenes; however I felt they introduced too many characters at once and also slowed down the plot, so sadly they had to go.
3: Docklands Riot
In the run-up to Mal taking on his new job as the ambassador’s bodyguard, I had him explore the city and encounter the skraylings a couple of times. I ended up dropping the following incident in favour of one that focused on the otherworldliness of the skraylings, and re-used some of the scene later in the book.
4: The Office of Revels
I had a lot of fun writing this next scene, in which I envisaged the chaos of the Master of the Revels’ office in Clerkenwell. However the brief, cryptic glimpse of the skraylings proved unsatisfactory, so I replaced it with more direct negotiations between Naismith and Cutsnail (Chapter III of The Alchemist of Souls).
5: River Joust
In early drafts of The Alchemist of Souls, one of the subplots was a vendetta against Mal over a duel in which he had killed a young nobleman. I eventually decided that this was one complication too many, which meant I had to drop the following chapter. A pity, as it was one of my favourites!