Dammit a hundred times.
The novel is now over 74,000 words, but I’ve spent the last week locking down historic characters. By that I mean, the period I’m writing about has a large cast of characters and while a few of them are well-known, there’s a large cast of supporting actors, so-to-speak. Many of that cast are relevant but some are far more relevant to the needs of the story.
For years I’ve created my named characters. The list has grown to fifty, although there are still only ten principal characters. However, during the past week I’ve added three historic characters that I’d only glanced over in the past. WTF? This story is twenty years in development and I’m just discovering three new characters? I mean, the book is over three quarters written? WTF?
Here’s the thing and I’ve said before and will probably say again and again, writing is a process of discovery; for me, that is. Keep in mind, when I decided to rewrite the second part of this novel I completed an extensive outline. My outline is mostly an outline, but also quite a few notes that any good editor or educator would point out to me that they are superfluous to the outline. Nonetheless, the outline is 17-pages of outline and foo-foo.
So you’d think I’d have a complete understanding of where this thing is going, yes?
~ Well, sorta-yes.
I’ve known pretty much where Book I ends from almost the beginning or at least by 2013. But as I write I am constantly surprised at how the story continues to reveal itself to me. There’s a process at some level of consciousness that is connecting the hundreds or thousands of threads that I’ve set in motion. The net effect is that I wake up and discover something new and unique that must be explored.
This story is Science Fiction, yanno. And the backstory revolves around a lot of History. But in the past, I think writers didn’t force their stories into historic events as much as they do in modern writing. But we have extensive resources that makes it possible to understand historic events more thoroughly than at anytime in the past, even in the case of authors who had massive intellects.
Anyway, writing is a process of discovery whether I like it or not. And just to make matters worse, it’s a process of discovery about my fictionalized characters as well. And the pressure to finish this thing by my self-imposed deadline builds.