This week introduces our second love interest for the novel, Hasan. Lily's life gets more complicated as the two men who were responsible for her not being chosen for a wife have come back into her life, months before she officially becomes a kudame.
The first chapters of Second-Hand Dresses came because of my effort for the Journals of Fedran, a collection of short stories set in my world of Fedran. I originally wrote the first chapter of The Silk Touch which was about a debutante arriving in her family's town and meeting a potential husband because of a carriage accident.
It, like Raging Alone and other pieces ended up being a larger piece. The original intent of Journals was to create a newspaper-like entry which had various stories ending in cliff-hangers. That didn't really work since I like to view the stories as discrete projects instead of attached to a single one.
When I submitted the first chapter of The Silk Touch to my writing group, the folks who were really into romance told me it was a great start and not to write it piecemeal. So, I wrote Second-Hand Dresses instead… which ended up having the same problems with The Silk Touch in that it was better treated as a full novel.
Hasan is a contrast with Kendrick. Where I established Kendrick as dark, moody, and mercurial, Hasan needed to be the opposite. It is obvious what he wants and how he goes about it. He is persistent but no less passionate about Lily.
Her lure to him should be pretty obvious. He never stopped caring for her and is willing to give her the attention, love, and passion that she's been missing for nine years.
Second-Hand Dresses 6: A New Home
With her decision to embrace becoming a kudame, Lily is faced with the consequences of her choice, the biggest is moving out of Rose Manor and into her own home. Thankfully, the Kasin family was willing to provide someone to ease her into her new life, though the person they selected was the last one she hoped to see.
Read the chapter at https://fedran.com/second-hand-dresses/chapter-06/.
The next few sections have some spoilers.
I'm still planning on writing The Silk Touch but as a more story about one woman and one man. Second-Hand Dresses ended up going in a different direction with Lily having the affections of two men, Kendrick and Hasan, and having to choose between the two.
Well, as I got to thinking about it, I remembered that I really don't like many of the “choice scenes” of romance novels where the main character has to choose between the men she loves. I love the teasing, talking, and interactions, but the “I have to leave you” never sat well with me. There are authors who do it well and ones who don't.
I came to the conclusions that I didn't want that type of ending. Second-Hand Dresses became more of a “why choose” with the eventual intent that Lily does choose one over the other, but she doesn't lose her relationship with the other. In effect, a polyamorous story with primary and secondary relationships written in the constraints of the Tarsan culture I'm developing.
And One More
That was a pretty good direction until about half a year ago when I was talking with one of the ladies of the writing group and realized I had another problem with my original plot, consent and communication. Consent is important to me as is communication. It is one reason I have a trigger warning on the legal page of my books and I believe in being forward about where I'm going.
The story written at that point focused on the two men. The problem was Hasan. He was a married man who never fall out of love with Lily. As their relationship grew deeper, I realized that I was basically writing an adultery piece because Hasan would never honest with his own wife.
There are a couple ways of handling that, one is not have Hasan married. The other was to include Hasan's wife (Mindil) into the story and let all four of them figure out a balance between their interests. Some of this came from a depressing article about a woman who was poly because her husband was a serial cheater; I didn't want that. I wanted consent with all the adults involved and for them to find an equilibrium.
That was important to me, not only for my beliefs, but also because I think it would be a fun story to write about Lily, Kendrick, Hasan, and Mindil.
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