This came about when I realized that as written and planned, Lily was superfluous.
Her job, as Mischa’s adopted daughter, was to give him someone to protect from my villains’ attentions, and to sit on the sidelines and fret for his safety – essentially, be the useless woman on the sidelines, a character type I really dislike. If your only contribution to the story is to wring your hands and demand others solve your problem, then according to Roger Ebert’s Law of Economy of Characters, you get the axe.
So what to do? I didn’t want to get rid of Lily. I like her, and I like the idea that Mischa was able to find happiness and have a family.
But she was, if not flat, than without purpose.
Sarah’s story – feeling her life is without meaning, that she is an awful person who only deserves death – is a big part of the tale’s redemption focus. She is not quite Lily’s foil or opposite, but she knows what is happening to Mischa from the beginning, and through her questions of herself about her life and family, she shows herself as being Lily and Mischa’s best hope for his rescue.
She’s needed after all. Her presence helps round Lily out more, or at least I hope it will, as I’m now farther away from finishing than I have been – Sarah’s return required the tearing apart of everything I’d written to this point!
Frank, one of my two villains, is questioning his change of heart near the end. I don’t want the story to reek of Easy Evangelism, but I do want a theme of forgiveness, repentance and love to flow (despite the cover – see sidebar – and scenes of torment). Sarah may be able to assist him with this.
In short, she’s back!