“Only once that skeleton-map-outline is made am I going to let myself make the file and start writing, even though the first chapter has been in my head for something like two years now.”
It was about a month ago I wrote that, in a previous blog post. I could almost have predicted the outcome. It’s happened before. That first chapter, which had been living in my head for two years at least, turned out not to be where the story started at all. I had barely set fingers to keyboard when the actual words made it clear that no, A., G., and I., were not going to meet up in this way at this point. Their predestined forgathering was in fact to occur some time later and many hundreds of miles eastward. But … but … but … my lovely scene. Kindling, consumed and gone, and a more lasting fire taking its place … I hope.
Well, the whole idea of a sort of vague itinerary, word-map of the plot, still applies, but I realized I can’t fill in more than the very roughest details yet, because it’s in part one of my planned three-part structure that I will be figuring out who’s who and what. It’s only as I begin to chivvy people onto the stage that I figure out whom else I need, what character implies other characters to support them, who can actually take on several roles and both keep things interesting and reduce clutter. It’s here, as well, that the details of the culture start to grow out of the nicely stirred-up and fermenting compost of my research reading. The characters themselves, as they evolve at this point, begin to provide the complexities of the plot, which prior to this could have been summed up in about one sentence. “One av the seven original plots,” you may remember the Irish priest in Emily of New Moon murmuring to himself as the young Emily recounts her thrilling ‘maiden exiled to convent to keep her from unsuitable beloved’ epic idea. It’s all the detail that evolves after one says, A. and G. go to X to do Y” that makes a real story out of it.
And as usual, one of the lesser background characters is getting really, really interesting and has suddenly revealed himself as a fairly major player in events. He’d just better not get uppity and try to take over. This is G.’s book, after all.