Delved a little deeper into Raphel’s heart than I really meant to. Hey, not my fault. It actually worked as something of a distraction for Saeli, preventing her from thinking too hard on the fact that he just killed someone. Again.
Yesterday I listened to a Writing Excuses podcast about first person POV, and a lightbulb kind of went on in my head. Third person limited, which is what I wrote the first two drafts in, is too honest for the story I’m trying to tell. The only way to have a strong female protagonist fall for the villain, and to have that love survive several instances of betrayal, all the while keeping the heroine from looking like a moron, is to be in her head. I need that bias. I need that distance from Raphel. I’m trying to deceive the reader into falling for Raphel, too, and he’s *just* villainous enough that nobody will buy it unless they see him directly through Saeli’s eyes.
I worry, sometimes, that I’m writing Raphel too sympathetically this time around. If the line between a dark hero and a villain is a knife’s edge, Raphel is going to be cutting his shoes through the entire trilogy. It’s like when you hold an object close to your face. If you look with just one eye, it appears one way. But when you look through the other eye, it appears to be in a completely different place.
In a way, Saeli sees Raphel with one eye shut. Sure, there’s darkness in him, but he’s still a hero in that eye. But others in the story keep urging her to look at him with the other eye and see his cruelty, his ambition, the way he manipulates people, his lack of true empathy. In the end, Saeli will learn to look at Raphel with both eyes open, and that’s really the cruel part. If she only viewed him through the eye that sees his villainous side, the decision to destroy him would be justifiable (if not easy). But she has to destroy him knowing he’s at least partially a hero inside. Add that to the fact that she loves him, and saving her world will quite possibly be the agonizing choice she’ll ever have to make.
Not something I could do without a narrator bias. Thank you, Writing Excuses.