One of the strongest elements of my original draft of the Moonstone story was the threat that Prince Ashe was trying to castrate the mages. It was a combination of the fact that his country used Indurai (mages who had been castrated before puberty to give them a different sort of power, sort of like the mage equivalent of castrati) and the fact that he was frightened by the fact that so many of the mages were gay. But in the new version, there were other threats coming from so many places -- the Enforcers had a stronger role, for one. The castration element seemed like too much to add on top of all that. Not to mention that it would be harder to make people believe in it.
It didn't make sense that the mages would learn of a thread (especially that threat!) and not fight back. Also, I ended up changing the storyline so that Moonstone didn't end up at the siege of the Palace of Mages, so that would be out of the story. So I've started yanking (ouch, sorry!) all the references to Indurai and castration. On top of that, I decided that the idea of the fleeing mages passing through Brodin's castle didn't work as well now. He had enough to keep him occupied between all the palace ghosts arriving at his palace and Guy no doubt messing up.
But don't get me wrong. Someday, I might use the concept of the Indurai in a different story. It might be more interesting to tell the story from the point of view of a castrated mage. Some famous writer (Theodore Sturgeon?) once said that before writing a story, you should ask yourself "Who does this hurt?" In the case of the Indurai, that should be obvious.
Tormenting My Characters Again
I had another evil idea for how to make the lives of my characters (well, some of them) miserable. Instead of only having the king's son, the evil Prince Ashe, return from self-imposed exile, I decided the king's estranged wife, Zakira, should return as well. I decided, although I might change this, that she left because she accidentally learn King Blackwood was bisexual. Before accepting her as his wife, he had been told that she already knew. (Now that's
a big misunderstanding you won't ever see in a romance novel!) Already, she has shown herself to be very very snarky, and thus lots of fun to write. But that strange little voice in my mind says that for all the snarkiness, she is one of the good guys (gals). I hope it works out that way because she would be more fun!