by Shelt Garner
Now that I have the general plot of my time travel concept down pat, I am struggling with some basic details. The chief amongst them being, where the story takes place. I know when –what year in the past — but I don’t know where exactly where.
The most obvious location is on Manhattan Island. The reason is, if I really do a good enough job of detailing what is known about the island before the Dutch arrived, that would probably go over well with a lot of readers in big cities. And, yet, this comes with a downside — I would really have to do my research. I would really have to know exactly what the specific site that I’m thinking about looked like to a degree that the typical New Yorker would find the story interesting.
I’m early enough in the process that I could just as well plop my characters somewhere else and not have to worry so much about making sure specific sites look like what we know them to look like before Europeans arrived. I am tempted, in fact, to make that a plot point — that our Hero knows exactly where they are and wants to stay there, which causes a lot of conflict.
At the moment, I’m torn between these two possible locations.
I just don’t know. One has a hook that makes it more interesting to a powerful part of the audience, while the other is easier and would allow me to finish the novel a lot sooner.
But things are moving really fast with this novel. I think my “textbook” for this novel will be The Martian because that novel is really fun and character driven and deals with a similar problem, if in a dramatically different way. And my story is different because my hero has to deal with OTHER people, not just himself and that adds complications that greatly help with the development of the plot.
I’m very pleased with how quickly I’ve managed to plot out this new novel. It is interesting enough — and deals with themes that I love enough — that it’s exactly what I’ve been looking for in a “second tract.” It will be in first person, have one (male) POV and hopefully be short enough that all the metrics of modern novel writing will be met.
This is in contrast to my main novel project which, even though it’s meant to be an old brown shoe to Stieg Larsson fans, may be DOA because — among other things — I’m a smelly CIS white male who writes at times from a female POV. But I still love the novel enough to keep at it, despite the potential risks.
Anyway, I feel much happier now that I have a solid backup novel to work on in case The Worst happens with my mystery-thriller. I don’t know what that might be, but I having a backup definitely gives me some much-needed piece of mind.