Welcome back! We’re just getting started here, but I hope you’re enjoying the read-along. For those of you just joining us, welcome to the Read-Along of King’s Warrior. I will be posting an article on a chapter a day through the month of December, ending on the 23rd. I’m scheduling most of these posts to go up in the evenings (around 4:30pm EDT) – just for a change of pace, and because I like to read in the evenings.
Let’s get started, shall we?
Of all the chapters in the book, this is the one that has undergone the most re-writing, changing, and flipping around. You see, the story was supposed to be about Yole. (For those who have read this book already, does that surprise you?) Since he was supposed to be the main character, it seemed right that the story begin with him. However, once the story got underway, I began to suspect that this story wasn’t about him… and when I finished the series, I realized that it never had been about him at all. Hence, the reorganization. I also spent a good deal of time working on that first chapter for the Amazon ABNA contest – the very first time I entered – where I got a lot of good feedback from other authors on the pacing of the story. That was a learning experience!
There is a lot of character set-up in this first chapter - so today we’ll focus on what we learn about some of them:
Kamarie – if there is one character in this story who most reflects me, it’s Kamarie. She has undergone a lot of changing since that first rough draft of the story, but the core of her character has remained the same. I wanted her to be head-strong, strong-willed, and capable, with her own opinions and a wild imagination. But I also did not want her to come across as the typical angsty princess with clueless parents. Hence, a blend was born.
“And the sword at her side was not merely for show, after all.” I wanted to drop hints about Kamarie’s “secret” training sessions, without going into a lot of details right away. Plenty of time to let that information unfold later.
Yole - “It had been a long, difficult climb to the top of Mount Theran.” This was the original opening line of the entire novel. However, again, as intriguing as Yole’s character is, this story is not about him. He is up there, listening to the pipe music, and reminiscing about the village he has just been thrown out of. Why was he cast out? What did he do to deserve such treatment? Poor Yole is very confused right now. It is always an interesting balancing act, writing a mystery – that balance of giving away just enough to keep the reader interested without giving everything away. I worry constantly that I’m being either way too subtle (my audience will miss all my hints), or not subtle enough (my audience will figure everything out too easily).
The Slap. I struggled with this one for a while, actually. It was part of the original, and I wanted to cut it out for a long time. But Brant takes the safety of his family incredibly seriously. And he doesn’t know that Yole has no idea who or what he really is – and in that context the slap makes sense and it would seem that Brant is actually restraining himself rather a lot. Upon later reflection, it also can be seen as quite an audacious act, as well. For those of you who have read the story before… would YOU have slapped Yole?
Brant – Ah, Brant. My “title” character. He was originally named Ramstrand, and he was only supposed to be part of the story during the scene where Yole is remembering how he was cast out of Peak’s Shadow.
My audience, however, had other plans. “Is Ramstrand going to be in the story more?” they asked after that first night of reading. “We really like him! Who is he? What does he know about Yole that we don’t know? He seems to be an interesting character, we want to see more of him!”
They raised some good points… and some good questions.
Of course, I had given him a hideous name… and a family… and no reason to ever leave his nice home. Something would have to be done about all that.
Oh, Brant’s family. I love them dearly. Sometimes, as an author, one is forced to be a bit cruel to one’s characters. That doesn’t mean we take pleasure in it.
The secret mission.
Kamarie is so fun to write. I love how she grows in this book. One of my favorite things ever is the part where she begins to imagine out how her mission is going to progress: like something out of a story book. “This trip was definitely starting to have possibilities.” She has such an imagination, and starts off a bit impractically.
“Understanding his daughter’s heart more than she guessed…” yes, King Arnaud knows all about Kamarie’s “secret” squire lessons, and he even approves. This is where I deviate from the angsty princess with parents who just don’t understand her.
I also got to give a tiny peek into Brant’s background here, as Kamarie tries to do a little research into the man she is being sent to find – a lot of that was added in the last edit, after having finished writing the rest of the series.
Oraeyn – poor Oraeyn. He really didn’t want to go on this “trip” as Kamarie thinks of it at first. He is the dutiful squire, the boy who wants to be a man. He has no idea how this unwanted detour will shape his life into so much more than he ever wanted or dreamed.
A reader offered the idea of having a few discussion questions at the end of each post, which sounds like a fun idea, so… here goes:
1. Now that you’ve met the main characters, what are your first impressions of them? Kamarie? Yole? Brant? Oraeyn?
2. Which character are you the most drawn to?
3. Kamarie has quite the imagination! Have you ever imagined something so clearly you could actually see it… only to discover the reality was very different from what you imagined?
4. Any favorite lines or passages?