As with Masquerade, and the upcoming Dark Logic, I can’t invent characters out of the blue, they must be based on someone known or a combination of known people or else from a photo … and that has implications for the writing.
The first is that I can’t plan or direct the action … I can only bring a 3D character into the scene and he or she then affects that scene as in real life. This creates a second issue. Someone such as Toodles McGhee who read the story objected to a couple of characters acting ‘out of character’ … and she was right. There was no choice but to go back and rewrite the scene … which in turn changed the later events which had been hanging on the earlier.
The third result is that the interaction of the characters, together with the nature of the foe, plus nature itself, directs my hand and so I have no idea where the story’s going. Which makes it more real … and I like real.
The two downsides are that, firstly, there are too many 3D people, making it harder to follow … and secondly, there’s a premium on not changing the story arc, however much I’d like. If someone died some chapters ago, they can’t miraculously come back to life. It’s done, unless there was a glaring logical error.
One such error was that there were four people at sea on a launch, sailing south, they were all in a four way conversation, quite intense, except for one thing … someone had to be skippering the boat. Oops.
Story arc and revisions
There’s a period of time while proofing, redacting, imposing the world these characters inhabit takes up half as much time as the writing … and if they were based on values from a former era, then so be it. They’re not being altered for today’s whims.
Which means that once you get the hang of the basic premises, plus you know the characters, you yourself could write the next chapter … as long as it was faithful to the arc.
Looking at the broader world of fiction, the way James Bond was killed off was revisionist and wrong. The way sexuality was brought into Dr. Who was all right in some cases, e.g. with Madame Pompadour, but not ok in corrupting the show’s world with sick ideas not in keeping with any intention of the founders of the show.
Input from readers
Always welcome, as is calling out of errors. Things Toodles said are used in the final chapter, in fact this novel is dedicated to her, she’s very much part of it in my mind.