I’ve looked at the hero: Hunt, and the passion: Mal, but what about the character that draws its influence from one of the most well known fairy tale princesses: Snow White. Turned/Red saw at least two or three different versions before it settled, and my “Snow White” changed dramatically in each one. She always seemed to be a reactionary character beside Red, until the moment I realized that we needed to discover her, not be “told” about her.
Solene White, the Imperial Princess of Faeree, remained “Snow” in all of my manuscripts up until the last edits. Even now, when I think of her, I call her “Snow.” It is, after all, probably the most accurate description of the character, and one of the most fun to write.
From the first moment I read Grimm’s Snow White and Rose Red, I always had this idea that Snow was the more mature of the two. Certainly, she is the more introverted of the sisters. She never raises her voice. Or steps out of place. She is the quintessential princess. But that is also very two dimensional. For a fairy tale meant to caution its readers at the time, it is perfect; but for a modern story, it falls very flat. My “Snow” had to be something more, and she was, from the beginning.
In the early drafts, Solene and Red were the sisters of the fairy tale: they grew up together, trusted each other, were a well-oiled team. When it became clear that they were separate characters with their own tale, Solene blossomed. And so did Red. They no longer had to be so intertwined. They had permission to be their own person.
Solene became mature, intelligent and well-spoken, a quiet force of nature, rather than a roaring fire. When she walked into a scene in my head, it was with razor-sharp focus. Truth-be-told, I loved when she showed up. She commanded the space like only an Imperial Princess could; and she was no longer a reactionary character. She drove her own story. Her own country, really.
Actors often say: “A villain doesn’t believe they are a villain. They believe they are the hero of their own story.” That doesn’t just apply to villains. Change that word for “supporting character,” or “anti-hero” or “side-kick,” anything. Each character has their own story. When I made room for Solene to do that rather that push her aside, it made the whole story stronger.
Now, I’m thinking not only does Mal get her own Novella. Maybe Solene needs one too.