Today, I began the way I mean to go on for the next four weeks, by pimping the HELL out of myself just about everywhere. That also meant asking the Writing Gods for a blessing: as I follow a bona fide one of those on Twitter, it was time to chance the collective arm for a thumbs up:
I had to explain the principle, but once that was done, Ian’s thumbs up was an inspiring start, and off I went… except I had already started earlier. However, most of that went out of the window and now there’s a prologue before my opening chapter and after that… well, I realised that if any of this alternative history is going to make sense to my reader, there probably needs to be context first. Here is where I have to thank the guy who taught an Evening Class in creative writing a few years ago, that told me that sometimes, to make your work make sense, you need to pave the way with exposition. However, to make that work in this framework whilst ensuring this doesn’t come from the mouths of characters? My first thought, if this were television, would be to use some kind of public information film. However instead I’m going to rewrite history in increasingly specific terms instead, using the conceit of historical textbooks.
That means that I spent four paragraphs creating a backbone of data that will become the basis for ‘The Condensed Diviner History :: Volume One (Origins and Hypotheses)’ by Professor Archibald Desmond Granger. Granger’s offspring already have a significant part to play in proceedings and it seems appropriate to give the seminal historical reference to the grandfather of one of my supporting cast. It also brings some much needed gravitas to my subject matter: imagining the world that exists in my ‘alternate reality’ is a vital part of getting the detail and tone just right. It helps that I can lose myself in this place for authenticity after all. On that front, I’m employing a technique I use for other writing, which is to assign an actor to each character so I can imagine them reading dialogue. This worked surprisingly well for the Bond fiction and is already paying dividends here.
That means today’s total’s already well over what I need it to be, but it is likely to change tomorrow as I’ll undoubtedly take the synopsis I wrote and expand it out to cover more specific areas of ‘history’. What this has allowed me to do is establish the city of Inskit which occupies the space that would, in this reality, be St Petersburg. That’s not important immediately but will be later on. For now I’m going to be spending my time in a 21st Century London where Social media was never invented, computers are only used by law enforcement, scientists and the military, and where a country is about to vote on a bill that might condemn a tenth of the population to slavery, and possibly death.
If that’s something that sounds interesting to you? Watch this Space.