When you realize that your villain is actually your main character

You know, Dirk was never even supposed to have a relationship with Tori. That just sort of spontaneously happened in the scene where they found out they were counterparts because I realized that a guy like Dirk would actually kiss her during that scene.

And then suddenly he had these strong feelings for her for the rest of the series that were driving his actions.

Sometimes characters do things like that.

But really, I think I was in book 3-4 before I realized that Dirk is actually the main character of the series. Because he’s the one who does the most changing. He’s the one who decides the fate of everyone else. He’s the one who has to decide whether to be loyal to his father or his friends. He’s the one who has to decide whether a better future for the country is worth spilling innocent blood for. (Weigh in: would you start a revolution if you knew the country would be better off afterwards?)

And in case you haven’t guessed, the climax revolves around Dirk.

I hadn’t originally planned that either.

This was a story where the climax came to me first. Originally it was going to be a story about losing your entire support system and having to face your dragons alone. All of the Slayers were going to lose their powers except for Tori. The dragons weren’t going to come until the group had graduated from college and had lost track of each other. (Dr. B was going to die of a heart attack or something in this version, and without camp and the supplies/ practices the kids move on with their lives.)

Tori was going to get a job and be surprised to find that she was working with Jesse–and then be even more surprised that he’d forgotten everything.

I had imagined this very funny scene where she was trying to tell him what he really was and he thought she was crazy.

And then the dragons would start attacking and she would have to make the heartbreaking choice to fight them alone, knowing she’d most likely be killed.

But then Jesse’s powers would be turned on and he would realize that she’d been telling the truth and he would join her, saving the day.

Yeah, that doesn’t happen now.

Part of the reason it changed was because years ago when the idea first occurred to me, social media wasn’t a thing. Now it would be harder to believe teenagers would lose track of each other. A bigger reason the plot changed was because I sold the series as young adult, and I didn’t think teens would be happy if I’d made the characters 25 at the climax.

And the biggest reason it changed was that Dirk took over the series.

And that’s why you should never use Dirk Benedict in any of your books. He will do things you didn’t expect him to do. Thanks, Dirk Benedict. Thanks.


  1. April
    February 8, 2019 at 8:40 am

    I love this! Thank you for sharing.

    I recently realized my novel’s climax didn’t feel like it had enough oomph because I made it about the wrong people. I thought the climax was a “will they or won’t they” between the MC and her love interest, but I realized, actually, their romance is a subplot. The real plot is about the MC escaping her stepmother’s abuse. The climax needed to be between them. (It’s a Cinderella retelling.) Gonna have to go back and change some things!

    • Janette Rallison
      February 8, 2019 at 7:20 pm

      Glad you figured it out. (Better in the writing process than after it’s out–or when it’s rejected by editors.)

      Good luck and happy rewriting!

  2. Katie
    February 8, 2019 at 10:35 am

    I love the slayers series so much! For a while, I couldn’t find any captivating books to read until I found this one. After I started reading the series, I couldn’t put it down! I was wondering if you still plan to write two endings to this series or if there will only be one. Thanks!

    • Janette Rallison
      February 8, 2019 at 7:19 pm

      Yep there will still be two endings. (At least for the ebook. I’m not sure about print.)

  3. Connie
    February 11, 2019 at 2:12 am

    Haha, fun to know what the plot ISN’T going to be… I originally had thought most of the slayers would lose their powers but now you’re keeping me on my toes. I keep wondering how you’ll resolve all the dilemmas you’ve set up!

    I’m rooting for Dirk to do the right thing.

    • Janette Rallison
      February 11, 2019 at 2:31 am

      Yeah, I still kind of miss that originally ending–but not enough to change it now. Hope everyone is happy with the climax. (And then I laugh because there is no book that makes everyone happy.)

  4. Unazaki
    February 14, 2019 at 1:54 pm

    Eagerly awaiting that ending XD

    • Janette Rallison
      February 14, 2019 at 3:51 pm

      Hope it’s worth the wait!

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