Then, in the spirit of benevolence, “Your face is well balanced.” She slapped him encouragingly on the back,
“You have very long eyelashes. Like a cow.
- Prince Laurent of Vere | SASS APPRECIATION POST (1/?)
In light of Supacat’s name change to C. S. Pacat mentioned here, I will soon be changing the author tag.
A friend I talked to about this chapter suggested that Laurent should be imperilled by bandits and that Damen should swoop in and save him. But - oddly enough - that was not in character in this case, because in fact being captured is not discomforting to Laurent the way that it is to Damen. Of the two of them, it’s Laurent who comes to the situation already well used to manouevering from a position of disadvantage - arguably that is the norm under which he operates, and he’s good at working from that position. So there’d be a part of him that would view the dynamic as normal and understand its rules, and even be comfortable within it, able to play around with it - oh yeah, this is the game I know, just played against far less sophisticated opponents. Okay, I understand what I have to do.
It’s Damen who’d be misfiring, as he does here, and as he did continually in the palace, because he can’t play the game, it’s not in his nature.
Chapter One introduced Laurent for the first time. I had already wrestled with a few different versions of his character in a previous draft of the story. So, I knew that the story didn’t work unless the reader HATED Laurent from the beginning. Actually, I wanted the reader to go on the same journey with Laurent as Damen: to begin hating him, and end up in love.
And then I wrote this chapter and… people hated him! There was a part of me that was gleefully rubbing my hands together, “Aha! As I planned!” And then there was a part of me that was “OH GOD THEY HATE HIM”. I had to have this mad faith that Laurent would be able to win people around later in the story.
You can see from my comments at that time that every time someone mentioned how much they hated Laurent I was trying so hard not to say, “BUT I LOVE HIM AND HE WILL WIN YOU”.