Saturday, March 28, 2015

Coming Together and Pulling Apart

Behind the Story of Centenary Separation (Part 7)

Warning:  this post contains spoilers for the first two Watchbearers books, and I recommend reading those before this.  Also be warned that this shows the ‘sausage-making’ aspect of writing, which some of you may not want to know about.

Nye’s story started by introducing the FBI as one of her problems, and they would end up becoming one of Anya’s as well.  That was enough to connect the two women’s stories in a meaningful way.  The issue of Kirin’s missing watch and its retrieval not only joined those two plotlines, it also brought Verity’s adventures into the same picture.  Thus the three women’s tales that had started separately became bound together and wrapped up nicely at the end.

But there was another thread tying them together.  Nye’s initial scene had dropped the lawyer Hollingsworth’s name into the book and demanded that we see more of him.  Pretty soon he was popping up in Anya’s tale and then Verity’s (in a way that worked out well for both of them.)  So though he never (directly) appeared in Nye’s story at all, his presence behind the scenes became part of the core connecting the characters across time.

The three tales of those very different women that had begun as distinct plaits wove in and around each other like a beautiful braid, becoming tidy, tight, and attractive in a storytelling sense.  Those three plotlines were now integral to each other.  But they were only half the book.

Matt’s and Page’s stories were closely linked – to each other – but flinging them both back to 1912 had removed them from relevance to the other characters’ plots (for the most part.)  But since the trip through time they had initiated was the impetus for everyone’s stories, they could hardly be left out.  Their tale was also an integral part of the book, even if it seemed separate from everything else that was going on.  Indeed, it was that very parting of the time-travelers that connected their stories.  So Matt and Page at least had to end pointed in the right direction to eventually reunite with the others (after dating their way through the twentieth century.)

That left poor Turner more isolated than anyone.  And he would start and finish all on his own, clinging to the hope that he might make it back to the future and find his wife.  His was and would be a long and lonely road to hoe.  But that presented the opportunity to show how important having hope was to him.

All in all I was pleased and pleasantly surprised by how well the book came together, and I certainly wasn’t about to leave any of the characters out.  But I still thought of each of them as having their own separate story, and I decided to approach the rewrite from a different direction than my usual method.  I would focus on one character at a time and rewrite their POV scenes as if writing a standalone story for them alone.  By doing this, I thought to increase the individual strengths of each tale.

I quickly discovered that way wasn’t working and was soon starting the rewrite all over again.
Next:  Part 8 – Changing Horses Midstream

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