When You Discover Your Main Character Isn’t Your Hero

So, I’m smack in the middle of the first draft of Birthright, a story about a witch and a griffin who fall in love in 1006 AD England.

My main character, Fiera, the witch, has led a sheltered life until the moment her parents died. Because of her past, she doesn’t know much about magic, only what she can do. In fact, she doesn’t know much about life at all. Her first few scenes showed a strong and compelling character. But now, she’s out of her depth and is trying to learn as fast as she can.

Efar, the love interest, is a fun-loving lady’s man who happens to be a griffin. He’s not supposed to be the hero of the story. But, from the first scene I wrote for him, I knew I’d be in trouble. He’s intriguing, even exciting. He’s never met anyone like Fiera and he’s searched the world over for someone to be his mate. Now he knows it’s her. He’ll cross Hell itself for her. And that’s exactly what he does as I put him through trial after trial, all for her.

Beginning to see my problem?

Efar’s the hero of the story. Fiera is the helper.

I tried to hold back on Efar to build up Fiera, but now I’m bored. And if I’m bored writing it, my readers will be bored reading it.

I could go like Harry Potter and just have Efar standing around while Fiera learns. It’s okay to do that for a couple or three chapters as long as there are plenty of complications and the suspense is way high from the action/s preceding it. But any longer than that and it’s boring.

Or, I could go back and build Efar the way he’s made to be, let Fiera move to the helper role when she needs to learn, right up until that moment she has to rescue herself (because a woman MUST rescue herself, right?).

And that’s what I’m doing with Birthright. Going back and strengthening Efar. He’s fun. He’s exciting. He’s the hero. It’s HIS book.

 

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About Wendy L. Koenig

I was born in Colorado, but raised on a small homestead in Illinois. I served in the USAF right out of high school. After my stint in the military was finished, I returned home and had a horse stable. My first piece to be printed was a short children’s fiction, Jet’s Stormy Adventure, serialized in The Illinois Horse Network. It was a natural fit, given my business. Later, I attended University of Iowa's famed summer workshops and writing programs. Since that time, I have authored and co-authored numerous books. Several of my novels and short stories have won international awards and have appeared in multiple venues.
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