Since I had decided to focus primarily on the characters when I began this process, the obvious question arose: now that you've created them, what are they going to do? I decided that since I had invested the time and energy to develop characters who could make decisions (so to speak), I should respect them as the plot unfolded.
All art is autobiographical. The pearl is the oyster's autobiography.
In each of my characters there is a little of me. Not strictly autobiographical but a little piece of my soul.
When I started writing this novel, I had very little idea of what to do or how to do it. I had grown up writing and I loved it, but had never tackled a project of this magnitude. I consulted a variety of books which purported to give advice on how to write a book of fiction in X number of days or months, or which gave general advice for specific aspects of creating fiction, and in the end I probably did end up taking something of value from each of them despite their rather formulaic approach.
When I started writing this novel, I had not much idea of what to expect. I'll be detailing some of my decisions and process in this blog over the next few months in the lead-up to the book's release, but for now I'm just content to say it's been a long and arduous journey and it's gratifying to finally have a completion date in my sights. (I'm working on the last remaining details, including the acknowledgments page which begins this way at the moment: "This book has been work in progress for many years and is by now a work of historical fiction.")
(archival post, first published in Catapult Magazine, April 2004)
"Our stories are inextricably interwoven. What you do is part of my story; what I do is part of yours."
"Many of the characters are fools and they're always playing tricks on me and treating me badly."
-Jorge Luis Borges