My editing process for this book was all about getting to know the characters and the world better. Although I plan my stories, I always leave lots of leeway for the characters to surprise me, which they inevitably do. The more I write, the more I discover who the characters are, what they want, and who they want to become.
In Ariella’s Escape, I added more color to the dialogue, little touches that really bring out characters’ personalities. For instance, in the scene where the heroes take shelter in a roadside inn, the innkeeper is a little bit snarky with the guards who are looking for the fugitives, but he’s very snarky and even cheeky in the final edit.
The same thing happened with the main characters. Some of their traits that had not been very noticeable turned out to be absolutely crucial to the story and to the central romantic relationship.
By the time I finished the first draft I realized just how disillusioned Ariella was with life and how Demetrius, on the contrary, was always trying to stay optimistic despite everything he had been through as a slave. I went back and added those little touches that would bring out their perspectives even more as well as the particular traits of this fantasy world, their beliefs in their gods and what that said about the characters.
So the following exchange was added in the final draft:
“Some people believe that the Spheres of Epheor the sky move with purpose, that the stars are gods looking down on us, others believe they’re merely the fires of lifeless realms. What do you believe?”
She frowned slightly, her gaze fixed on the fire. “I believe in the gods, but I think they’re cruel.”
Demetrius didn’t agree, despite everything he had endured. There had always been such a strong hope in his heart for freedom, and he had finally found it. But he did not want to pry, just as she had not pried into his secrets.
However, he hated the thought of such a young woman, so kind and noble, believing that life was essentially misfortune.
“There are so many stars in the sky,” he said, “When I was captured, I decided that among the thousands of stars, thousands of gods, there must be at least one that would shine its light on me… Maybe you are my lucky star.”
About the Book
Title: Ariella’s Escape
Author: Carolee Croft
Genre: Epic Fantasy Romance
Ariella had always believed that the life of a warrior should include indulging in wine and men whenever they were on offer… And in Chaldea, the capital of the old empire, they certainly were.
Especially the man she finds in her bedchamber, a slave provided by her hosts to entertain her in any way she wishes.
But when betrayed and surrounded by enemies in a strange land, there is only one man she can trust—the slave who was meant only for her pleasure but is much more than he seems.
Demetrius had been captured in a battle at the age of fifteen, and slavery was all he had known in his adult life. When his chance for freedom comes along, his fate is bound to the noble warrior maiden whose voice and body he cannot resist. Duty calls him to return to his kingdom, but the journey will take him places that will change him forever.
Together, they make their way through a den of thieves and an enchanted elf forest, but the biggest danger of all may be their fiery attraction to each other and the secret that will draw a dividing line between them.
Enchanted by romance on page and screen, I have always tried to write my own versions of the perfect fairytale. As for real life, I believe I may have already found the man of my dreams, but I still haven’t found the dog of my dreams. Currently, I’m obsessed with Italian greyhounds. I can usually be found enjoying the outdoors or relaxing with a good book on the west coast of Canada.
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