Karissa Laurel

Worlds of Magic and Fantasy

Guest Post from b00k r3vi3ws: A Main Character's Wingman... Or Wingwoman

From the b00k 43vi3ws blog:

When I set out to write Midnight Burning, I knew who my main character was from the outset. Of course I did. Don’t most drafts pretty much start with an idea and a main character? In the beginning, Solina Mundy was a simple girl with a whole lot of chutzpah and not much else. As the plot evolved, Solina found herself in situations she couldn’t handle on her own. I don’t think I consciously decided to give Solina a sidekick. Rather, I think Skyla, Solina’s kickass best friend, evolved as an organic answer to a growing plot problem. Invention is the progeny of need, right?

Skyla Ramirez is an ex-marine who served in Afghanistan, but realized she wasn’t cut out for a career in the military and exited the service after her first and only tour. She liked the adrenaline rush and hard work, but the submission and boot licking…not so much. Guiding kayak excursions in Alaska appealed to her sense of freedom and adventure, so she left the dessert and headed for the Land of the Midnight Sun. Skyla would have said, at the time, her decision to leave was made of her own free will. Later, she might have admitted fate and destiny had something to do with it, too. Skyla’s military background meant she had the training Solina would depend on to stay alive until she learned to defend herself and utilize her new abilities and powers.

As a fictional character, Skyla mostly created herself. She was independent of my authorial dominion. She might have come from my subconscious, but I can’t say I was truly aware of crafting her, not like I was aware of crafting the others. And of all my characters, she was the most certain of who she was and where she was going. She required the least amount of editing.

At one point, I was afraid I had make a mistake by not making her the main character. But my brilliant editor stepped in and assured me Skyla was right where she needed to be. She said something along the lines of: “Harry Potter couldn’t have succeeded without Hermione and Ron.” In fact, Solina quite often thinks of Skyla as her “kickass Hermione”. My editor was right. On her own, Skyla might have been too much of a good thing. She might have overpowered and overshadowed the other characters, and a novel with a large cast requires balance.

Sometimes a main character simply needs a good wingman, or wingwoman. And Skyla would tell you real quick that she’s happy playing second fiddle to Solina. She’d never want the spotlight. Instead, I’m sure Skyla would agree: the best place to watch your enemies and plan your attacks is from within the shadows.