Friday, January 10, 2014

Begin the Begin

Behind the Story of Critical Contingencies (Part 7)

Warning: this post contains spoilers for Critical Contingencies (formerly Certain Hypothetical) though hopefully not for future books in the series, and I recommend reading the book first.

Also be warned that this shows the ‘sausage-making’ aspect of writing the novel, which some of you may not want to know about.

In previous posts I described the first phase of creating this book – developing the idea to the point where I was ready to discover the story by writing it, and how I wrote a first chapter that was mostly scrapped – but it helped me realize what story I needed to tell.

Not the specifics.  I knew the basics of the premise for the series and the threat that would define this first book.  I also knew how the people who understood that threat intended to deal with it.  But I really knew very little of David and Kat’s personal stories, and that’s what this book ended up being all about.
I did know that after the prologue I wanted to start with David and Kat finding out about the FURCS compound being sealed and see their individual reactions to that.  The big wheels of the larger story had already been turning, but they were both unaware of that and would have a lot of catching up to do.

I knew that the changes taking place would see them both with new jobs bringing new challenges.  Which would draw them more and more into the central story.  I wanted to see how they reacted to the news, how they approached their work and how they found themselves more involved in dealing with the big threats to the community.
Their individual characters would determine those things and drive their stories.  But it wasn’t only their personalities, it was also their unique circumstances that dictated how those personal stories started.

David was already working for and valued by Ken – so it was natural that Ken wanted David’s help with his new project, constructing additional defenses for the compound.  Although this meant a promotion, it wasn’t a job that David wanted or thought himself qualified for.  But his sense of duty and obligation left him no choice but to try and do his best.

Kat, on the other hand, was desperate to leave her current job, and the offer of returning to her old one was attractive.  But Anthony needed trained officers badly, so he offered her not her old job, but a big promotion with more responsibility.  For Kat, this was an opportunity to be seized.  She didn’t really know what she was taking on, but she felt confident she was up to the job (with good reason.)
So I was beginning the book with a sudden change in circumstances – for everyone in the community, but especially for David and Kat.  And I was looking at how it affected them in very personal ways.  Mainly how they adjusted to their new jobs.  But that was just the first step they were taking on a larger and longer journey.

David and Kat were on a collision course with events they didn’t yet comprehend, and I was eager to see how they got there.  They were also on a collision course with each other – but when I started writing I didn’t know when or how that would happen.
Next week:  Part 8 – David vs. Kat

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