Who—and What—is the Book About

There is a thought in writing that the best point of view for a scene is the character who knows the least and has the most to lose.

Last week or thereabouts, I had an epiphany. Summerlight is not about the discovery of Vardin or the opening of the Barrier, but about the Vardin succession while those things are going on. It's about people, in particular a person who loses everything whether or not she succeeds her mother on the throne.

Most people think knowing who you are supposed to marry is a good thing. I used to—until I knew I could never marry him.

Summerlight is about the person who has most to lose and, typically, one of the last characters whose role within the story I knew anything about.

Apparently, I tend to start with those who have most to gain because they are driven and informative and drive the story forward. But they don't have the same sacrifices, the same loss. They may even already be resigned to the possibility of not-having.

Despite my general desire for relief from romance, I find my Vardin series is starting with the rothnen, the soulmates, for lack of a better understood shorthand. They are complex and deal very much with sacrifice, though it mostly falls on the non-rothnen side at first. Those who grow up always knowing are far more aware that they may never have. Being rothnen is fraught with issues like consent, invasion of privacy, pain, and belief or disbelief in fate. In short, despite running from romantic angst in my original fic, I find myself smack dab in it again.

Oh well.

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