I’ve been building/brainstorming my current WIP for a month now, but until an hour ago, I didn’t have a love interest for my protagonist. Let me just get it straight now, I’m personally not against love and affection. I haven’t told love to pack his bags and hit the road. And I understand fully that the fiction audience has come to expect a good romance storyline during any coming of age novel. With that said I couldn’t for the life of me come up with someone who would properly fit. I didn’t want to just have a place holder, you know, a cardboard cut-out of a girl that would sit and wait for my main character while he had fun saving the crown and land. I wanted someone that would be an equal to my protagonist, if not better. She had to be strong enough, wise enough, that she would know when to speak, what to say, and how to say it. So, I put the task of a girlfriend for my 18-year-old main character on the back burner.
As I carried on with brainstorming this manuscript, from the creation of a completed premise to the early drafts of a plot skeleton, I hit a wall. What was the protagonist motivation now that I’ve taken everyone he cared for away? I mean I killed everyone and the death that hit the hardest was committed right before his eyes. What would get my protagonist to get out of bed and even try now that he knows he can’t trust those who were charged with keeping him and his family safe? Would the love of the crown motivate him to put his life on the line? Would someone so self-centered care about his people and the legacy that is now his by birthright? Probably not to all these questions. I needed someone he would hope to save from the assassins that killed his family. I needed someone whose words could convince him to step up and be a man, be a king for his people. I needed someone who didn’t have all the answers but was willing to stick their neck out for the very reason they were pushing my protagonist to think and act outside of self. Ah, the girlfriend.
A girlfriend could see my protagonist cry and not feel the need to stop his grieving. A girlfriend who was trained to be a warrior could help him fight. Hell, I made her hobby studying war history so that she could advise him in the war he’s in; because after all, he is facing a native warlord, a militarized federation, and a group of assassins. I describe her as a lovely girl, beautiful in her own right. So, he’ll want to kiss her. They have a history together as he was there for her when her sister committed suicide over flunking out of the His Majesty Royal Academy for Girls. She knows his friends and except for two get along with them pretty well.
So there, I have a love interest that isn’t a curly sue. She is not perfect but she won’t back down from this situation knowing that if they hang in there just long enough allies will come in and help revenge the Turner family. But that’s a paper for another day. Until then know that I’m pleased with finding both more forward-moving plot and a kick-ass female lead.
Thanks for listening,