Another in my interminable series of blog posts that primarily exist as a record for me to look back and see what I thought, in my utter naivety, was going to happen in Transformation.
I have, finally, finished the first draft of the opening chapter, possibly the slowest chapter I've ever written. There was a reason for that, though. There was a lot of small seeding need in the first chapter to hint at what's to come in the rest of the first section. To do that, I needed to flesh out some of the supporting characters in a lot more detail, and especially their interrelationships, which proved more fluid than I anticipated until I realised the solution (which would be a spoiler).
There are five primary characters that will drive the narrative in the first part, currently called Proselytism.
Nevin: A somewhat shy, naive eighteen-year-old, the hero of this tale and the grandson of Sandra. If you want to know who Sandra is, you need to read the last chapter of Long Division. When the story starts, Nevin is working in the Office of the High Council of Juno.
Amy: A co-worker of Nevin, a couple of years older and about to go out on a first date with him.
Freya: Celebrant of the Congregation of Indra, presiding over the service Nevin and Amy attend on their first date.
Omri: President of the High Council, about to stand for re-election.
Erroll: Councillor in the High Council, intending to stand against Omri for president.
This then allowed me to plan out the structure of the remainder of the first section. There will be seven chapters in total: Commune, Contend, Condemn, Connect, Confess, Confront, Collude. That'll all probably change, of course, but gives me enough feel to be confident I vaguely know what I'm aiming for.
It also took me a while to get back in the mindset of a shy eighteen-year-old, lacking in confidence with the opposite sex. I should know, that used to be me! I think in the end he turned out more like me in my mid-twenties, but I was a slow learner.
Including the prelude and interludes, I've written around 11,000 words for the first draft so far. I'm expecting it to be somewhere in the vicinity of 75,000 when I finish, give or take a few thousand. We'll see.
What's the relevance of the photo above? Well, none really. I just came across a photograph of my childhood online last night on the website of the village where I was born. It's probably around 1970, or maybe a year or so earlier. That's the St Nicholas Church Choir football team, with me lurking at the bottom left of the photo, as opposed to lurking about at the back in defence out of harm's way during the matches. The original photo was black and white, but this is my quick attempt at colourising it...another transformation.
Actually, I guess there are a couple of connections.
Religion is a theme of Transformation, and it was probably around that age when I first started questioning the faith I was raised in (Church of England). Sat in the choir, listening to the rector telling us that you couldn't enter heaven unless you were a Christian, and thinking how lucky I was to have been born in a Christian country. And then thinking, hang on, is that fair? I thought God was good?
Also, on the theme of Transformation, that painfully shy ten-year-old boy, lacking in self-confidence, wouldn't have believed what he was going on to achieve in his career, his personal life, the things he would do and the places he'd visit. Not all good, of course, but at that age I was looking forward to a quiet, unobserved life, living in the same village, just like my parents and grandparents. I'd never have imagined myself capable of running software development for a multinational and having a reputation for good man-management (only occasionally deserved).
Right...on with chapter two...