Little did I know in May 2012, when I sat down to write about a little girl splashing her peds in a sparkling brook on another planet, that her father and the woman he loved would take over the story. Or that I would end up in April 2014 writing about interprovincial trade and internecine politics on said planet. I’ve never considered myself a political animal.
Really, I’m not.
The Fall is Laura Howard’s story, starting from the moment she leaves Suralia on her way back to Parania. This being fiction, however, a happily-ever-after is not a beginning; it’s an ending. You can’t make a story out of a lifetime of passionate nights followed by idyllic breakfasts and happy days, however interesting they might be. Therefore, I had to torture my characters with antagonists and trouble in paradise. Leaven with Tolari politics, add in the logical consequences of a certain Tolari ruler’s towering arrogance, and voila: Space Opera.
It’s not actually how I originally conceived the story. But the changes in Daughters were so far-reaching, the only way to keep the ending of The Fall was to change the beginning. I should be able to preserve the last chapters pretty much intact, while rewriting the beginning of the book almost from whole cloth. There wasn’t much in the first two chapters of the second draft that I could keep, given the massive changes in the ending of Daughters, so those are rewritten entire, and the third draft also now has a prologue, stolen from… elsewhere.
Today, I am attempting to thread in another political chapter near the beginning, and marveling at where the story has taken me. There is still the plot arc of Laura’s relationship with the Paran, and how that develops. But it’s woven into the overarching storyline of the planet and also what’s going on in human space, places I hadn’t thought to go, before. In the beginning, I never thought to leave Suralia; the idea of a planet was, at first, too big for me. Yet now I take my character across Tolar and into Parania, Monralar, and points north.
I’m still brooding on where to start and where to go with the political wrangling in the chapter currently under my microscope, and I may not begin the actual writing of it today. But — it’s in there. Soon.