Behind the bastard


(FYI, this post is chock full of spoilers. Another FYI, that was the first and hopefully the last time I’ll ever use the phrase “chock full.”)

When I began to think about my bastard prince character—Benjamin—I decided right away that he needed to be unfamiliar with the sea. This was Charmaine’s territory, her area of expertise. Benjamin was coming aboard her ship, and for the life of me, I couldn’t let him invade the one haven she has left when the very thought of him causes her psychological torment. Besides that, from the very first words he spoke, I realized that he was going to be another handful to write. I virtually dunked him a gallon of arrogance mixed with a few quarts of righteous morality. He’s also a ginger.

Do you see the problem? DO YOU SEE IT?

In my early chapters *spoiler alert* Benjamin and Charmaine get into it quite a bit. The first time they fight, she wins. I wanted to establish that very clearly. However, the second time they fight, he bests her first. This is the best part about their clashes—they’re near equally matched. You have no idea how exciting it is to finally have a character who can compete with her temper (I say “finally,” because it really feels like an eternity to me. Writing a character like Charmaine takes it out of you.). For some reason, sparks fly really well between Charmaine and Benjamin. I’m starting to think Charmaine is a ginger on the inside.

At the same time, I didn’t quite want Benjamin to be that stereotypical “prince” character, nor did I want to cast him as the stereotypical “victim.” You know, the conceited but ultra-attractive (prince), wounded yet incorruptible (victim) type. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. I just didn’t think it’d be right for the *spoiler alert* illegitimate, secret son of a queen that I was creating. Sadly, I find myself leaning more and more toward that image… but hopefully, there’s more to Benjamin than that.

Here’s a photo of someone whom I think looks rather like Benjamin. Fiery hair, fiery temper, but dark, reserved eyes that perhaps hint at uncertainty beneath his brazen surface.

—Samantha Chaffin


3 thoughts on “Behind the bastard

  1. TheJaneite says:

    Okay, YES. That picture is perfect! It was super weird, but I couldn’t get the image out of my head that he was really skinny (despite the fact that you described him and that was never mentioned and I knew he wasn’t). Now I have a clear image!! I’m so glad. And yes, he is perfectly matched to fight with Charmaine- and I think there is more to him as well, like the way that he fought the fact that he was so unsteady and out-of-his-depth (no pun intended) at sea to escape and (despite the fact that it’s not a good thing at the moment) rise above his weakness and really kick some butt! Getting as far as he did was a real accomplishment, and even if I want her to kick his butt now, I applaud him. *applauds* 😉 Now go and write more!!

  2. samchaffin says:

    Oooo Lydia gives me something to fix, at long last! Thanks for pointing that out. I do use the words “boy,” “lad,” and “young man” a lot when I’m talking about Benjamin… that’s probably where your skinny picture of him came from. I should probably emphasize a bit more that he’s Charmaine’s age… i.e. not really a “boy” or “lad.” Haha 🙂

  3. TheJaneite says:

    I do think it’s good that she sometimes calls him “boy” or “lad”, or at least thinks of him that way, because it almost gives him a challenge in the reader’s mind to live up to being a man since Charmaine is so condescending. 🙂

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