Hi all you Quaint folks,
Continuing on from the point below, you might ask ‘Why set your novel in the Victorian era if it’s going to cause you so many headaches validating if it’s all possible?‘ and the answer is that I didn’t intentionally choose that era to set Cornelius Quaint’s chronicles in, it just sort of happened.
I’ve tried many times in the past to sit down with a blank screen or a notebook, and conjure up (no pun intended) interesting stories, scenarios and characters. Mostly, it doesn’t happen. Why? Because I’m trying too hard.
The night I created Cornelius Quaint and the circus folk, I didn’t consciously choose to do so. It began with a vague thought about the old Victorian freak shows, and I wondered how much mileage would be in a story like that – especially because the very idea of them doesn’t sit well in my mind. Gradually, the ideas morphed themselves into a bigger idea, and that idea then gave itself a bit more form and substance in the cold light of day. I still have the very first synopsis that I wrote for The Equivoque Principle way back in 2005 or so, and it’s interesting for me to look back at that now with 4 books (in various stages of completion) under my belt, and wonder how I came to make all those choices and decisions. Some aspects of that germ of an idea are still there. Some obvious and up front, others just below the surface. The inflection of someone’s speech, a particular action sequence or conversation…but why did I consciously (or unconsciously) decide to follow through certain ideas, but drop others? Why did I change the whole direction of the story overnight? The boisterous conjuror, the bearded lady, the wolf boy and the grisly strongman from that very first synopsis still exist somewhere down the line and even individual lines of dialogue that I wrote four years ago are still recycled and used at some point.
I have a notebook where I have plotted out the whole of the Cornelius Quaint series right up until book 8. I know exactly what happens, who the antagonists are and what their motive is. I know how they talk, what they look like and I could name every one of those plots right here and now. But I won’t. The point is, that sometimes the idea is bigger than you. Sometimes it needs time to settle and grow a layer of dust before you can look at it with more critical eyes. And who knows; I might just settle and leave it at four books. The door is certainly open for me to do that. No one is biting my hand off for a 16 book series – and to be honest, if I had pitched a 16 book series as a debut author, which publisher in their right mind would take that sort of gamble. The ideas are there in that notebook in a skeleton form if I want them, but if not I can always utilise them and stick them elsewhere in another book about other things entirely.
In the words of Damon Albarn; nothing is wasted, only reproduced.
Anyways, go on. Get out of here.