Sometimes, it’s just dumb luck that I get something right. The entire time I’ve been editing Bk2, A River in Each Hand, I’ve been thinking exactly that. Actually, it was a double-dose of dumb luck. That’s right, I’m admitting it.
When I set out to write Bk2 I was worried about my protagonist, Riparia Dellbane, becoming too comfortable with the people who were surrounding her. In the end, just before NaNoWriMo in 2016, I decided to seize upon the advice to make life difficult for your main character. To do that, and do it on a regular basis, I decided that what I had to do was add someone she’d be around all the time who hated her.
The bigger question was who?
A brief encounter in Bk1 provided my answer. It must have been fate because it wasn’t difficult to come up with a reason for the other person to be present. In fact, it made perfect sense.
I placed them together at the opening when they’re about to enter the treacherous town of Sprawn. For the first couple of scenes there was tension, a kettle reaching for a boil.
Then, they were alone.
Sparks, sarcasm. It was everything I’d hoped for.
Thing is, when two people are placed together under difficult circumstances where they must, at times, depend upon one another, eventually there’s going to be some measure of mutual respect. I did my best to snuff it out, but it was like fire on gasoline. Over time, despite the animosity, there was respect.
Still, the dislike remained, sometimes biting, other times comical. Circumstances eventually forced a few acts of kindness on both sides. When there was separation for awhile they both came to appreciate how the other had benefited them. Thrown back together again, a friendship began to evolve, though the arguments could still be entertaining.
My double-dose of good luck? Neither was my thinking to put two people together who disliked one another. Instead, the first was that I wrote a real and deep friendship by accident. The other was that I showed restraint, not because I was restrained, but because I fought the friendship happening for so long.
The animosity? It wasn’t lost, but instead became a part of a deeper relationship. In the end, they became more like siblings forced to share a room who fight all the time, but always stand together against outside threats. Dumb luck or not, I couldn’t have asked for more.