Friday, June 27, 2014

Falling into Place

Behind the Story of Millennium Crash (Part 8)

Warning:  this post may contain spoilers for Millennium Crash (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 book, which some of you may not want to know about.

While I’d begun writing this book knowing the ground rules, and the characters themselves drove the narrative, I didn’t plan out how their stories would unfold or how they might work together.  But even those of you who’ve read about my writing process may be surprised at how little of what would be happening in Millennium Crash I knew from the start.

The pieces of the plot ended up fitting together into a complicated picture, but I didn’t know what it was going to look like until I neared the finish.  Just as if I were assembling a jigsaw puzzle without the box top as a guide, I only knew the pieces would unite to paint a picture and tell a story.  But while I was writing it, I didn’t know if any given piece was merely a part of the background or a vital link in the chain.

What do I mean?  When Anya took the professor’s smashed watch in that first scene, I didn’t know what that would lead to – it was just what she did.  I knew how the multiplication effect of Kirin’s wearing two watches affected things in chapter 3, but I didn’t know it would come up again.

And the whole issue with the watch from the end of the Sam’s story being left to be picked up earlier on – nope, I didn’t plan that either.  When Page got the contents of that safe deposit box, that was when I first got a glimpse of how Sam’s story would be turning out.

All along the way, as I wrote this book, things would crop up as a part of what was going on – things I didn’t understand the relevance of until it was revealed as I kept writing.  Even two-thirds of the way into the book, when the lawyer Hollingsworth shows up to help out with Nye’s situation, I had no idea he would be showing up again at the climax.  Or even that anything would be happening at the end of the book to call for a lawyer.

But the further I got into the story, the more that pieces I had in hand from earlier on started to fall into place just when I needed them.  And I was amazed how intricately they did connect.

I’m pleased it worked out that way, because when I reached the resolution, I had collected the key bits that helped me see the big picture quite clearly – but the final pieces of the puzzle were still missing.
Next:  Part 9 – Solving the Puzzle

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