A Cast of Thousands

Dierer WoodcutWhen writing a story, a balance must be struck between populating the world and creating a riot.

I am always happy when I can fold multiple characters into a single yet complex character. It’s like folding the evil twin into the good twin and getting a believable individual. It’s a gift from the writing gods, and readers don’t have to be frustrated with yet another character crowding the already-crowded stage.

This time, I changed a character too much between books and without reason. A complaint was raised by my primary beta reader. Of course, this means a new character has to step in and take on the misfit role.

So, again I appear to face delays in the march toward publication.

 

Amuse the Muse or Lose . . .

 

Okay. So in Man and Brother news, I have split the manuscript into two books. Since they each possess a smaller story arc within a much bigger arc, the two novels will be released together as the single publication: Man and Brother.

Man and Brother–or Book 1: Man and Book 2: Brother–sets a foundation for the rest of the cryptid series. Series-wide themes that appear in future books are introduced here. I’m not sure if this risk is too big. I could write fluff, but the reason I picked this project (scientific world meets/collides with the supernatural world) is because I wanted to explore this thought experiment in depth for myself. Like any really good scientific exploration, questions result more often than answers:

What would happen if the imaginary could be studied in the real world? What if it was happening too fast, and experimental science was losing ground each day against the runaway spread of the fantastic? How would individuals who are being barraged with subjective experience deal with it in an objective manner? How would characters act and react when faced with social obstacles to the objective observation of the expanded known Universe?

To answer those questions, I need a working knowledge a little better than the basic layman knowledge. I’m no scientist, so research takes a big bite out of my time as I endeavor to understand what current solutions are out there to deal with this problem.

 

Choose to Bemuse the Muse?

 

I have a saying I like to use when things get way out of control: “Bedazzle the chicken.” See, dazzling a chicken is stunning it into compliance. Brute-force noveling for the purpose of selling mass-market offerings doesn’t appeal to me. Having my offerings become mass-market successes would be amazing, but it’s not why I write. I don’t want to write compliant novels which fit a mold and are predictable. I want to write on the edge and share those ideas with people who want to be challenged mentally as readers like I do as a writer.

Bedazzling the chicken metaphorically takes poultry and covers it in sparkling paste gems. Something commonplace suddenly turned into a kinetic disco ball appeals to me. Does one need a farmyard bird racing around like a living kaleidoscope? Not at all. However, it’s unexpected. Baffling. Shocking, even. It, like good science and science fiction, raises more questions than provides comforting answers. (Most often: Who would do something like this, and are they clinically nuts?)

Examining the common experience then adding the inconceivable is challenging. I think it may be as challenging as actually applying paste gems to a bird which will fight against becoming a combination of artistic statement and live performance piece.

So, I am left doubting my writing ability. I question if readers will loathe the story, if the effort I put in right now will have negative response. Will Man and Brother tank my series, or will it elevate it? Will the sacrifices I make today pay off for readers tomorrow?

I have to risk it. I’m not a chicken hypnotist. I am that weird person in the corner who thinks a sparkling chicken is what people want to see, just for a jolt from the status quo. It may not be a spectacular jolt, like bedazzling an ostrich. I couldn’t do that. They’re bigger than me, and they kick hard.

However, I have enough of a revised draft of Book 1: Man to take to my sassy, Spanish pink typewriter. The frustration is that I have 30K more words than the last time, and I have a new character to slip into the story as I take a character and move him off-stage into a situation which fits him much better an actually fills in a plot hole I’ve been trying to manage for a while. [SPOILER: It connects with the very end of ‘Til Undeath Do Us Part]. So, adding this odd character (who is evolving himself into a self-bedazzled chicken in personality as he gestates in my fervid brain) weaves a major element of the series into this story by relieving a likable character of the burden of sudden personality reversal disorder.

Which means, of course, that publication will likely be pushed back again.

 

 

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