Whilst I’m going through the older stuff I’ve still got kicking around for Dark One’s Bride, I’ve found myself stumbling into quite a few pieces that just didn’t mesh with Clara’s whole personality. I would like to think I knew that at the time of writing it, but I persisted for so long taking Clara down a path that ultimately put her in a position of being made weaker than she was at the end of Dark One’s Mistress. That likely led to my hatred of the story as a whole.
A fresh look tells me that, yes, there are still bits worthy of keeping. Her being somewhat on the hesitant around nobles, and even a touch uncertain of how to respond to people higher and lower than her social rank, is reasonable. She’s the daughter of a seamstress ffs, her life never would’ve had her leave Everdark had she not been kidnapped by Lucias’ men.
However, by the end of this trilogy, I need her to be in a particular place to do a particular thing, but I also need to her become the type of woman who won’t shirk at… well, doing this…
She pushed the dagger harder against the woman’s throat, eliciting a gasp from the Lady Raven. A thin line of red welled at the blade’s tip. “Wrong answer,” Clara growled. “Now, I’m feeling magnanimous, so I shall ask one more time and I’d suggest thinking very carefully about lying to me before you speak again. Where is my daughter?”
– Clarabelle, Dark One’s Wife
And Lucias? He’s changed a lot, too. For some reason that I simply cannot remember to save my life, the original writing (from back before I split DOB and DOW) had him struggling to control his power, growing more erratic the longer the story went and, for the same reason, he had turned into a bit of a horndog. Not that it wasn’t still a clean romance, but the weird vibes I got from my own writing was just…
You know what he’s like without all that dreck? To put it simply, Clara is elevated to near godly status in his eyes. Her wish, his command. And she’s got a few wishes along the way.
Some of the other characters have changed: Thad turned out to be a bit of an arse. His wife is far bubblier than I first envisioned, too. And Brenna (yes, from the first one)… has mellowed with marriage and pregnancy. Just a bit. Don’t upset her, she’ll still slap your face off. But none have changed as much as the two main characters.