Argghhh! Don’t you hate it when you look at a draft and think, ‘yep that’s good to go, but I’ll just take a few minutes to double check…’ Then you discover a major ouch! I’m in the process of dusting off an old one that I think has been left to ‘mature’ for just the right length of time. After a read-through I was feeling pretty impressed with myself, thinking wow, I never knew I could do that. Then I thought, hang on, wasn’t he the son of the father of… and that was when it all fell apart.
A critical part of the new WIP is that the events of ‘now’ are seated in the events of the past – but oh, what a tangle I’m getting myself into. I keep forgetting to miss a generation and I’m ending up with all the wrong people married to the wrong people and it’s a big old mess. So I’ve drawn out a lovely little family tree-type chart as an aide-memoir – only problem is, will I need to put one in the book to help my readers out? I’m worried it might contain ‘spoilers’. I’m not really a fan of books with a massive casts of characters, is there anything more annoying than flipping backwards and forwards to remind yourself who everyone is? It turns out, yes, there is. Even worse than that, is not having a blooming clue who anyone is, and there are only so many times you can say Mr X-the-baker’s-mate or whatever.
Also, it’s so hard to think of names for everyone, isn’t it? My daughter used to joke that all the male protagonists in my first drafts were called John. I think I will call all characters by the same name from now on, that will avoid confusion, won’t it? So in future, all male protagonists will be called John, and females will be Betty. Minor female characters will be called Madge, Jo and Lucy and male minor characters will be called Mr Brown, Gerald and Martin. Job done. Phew.
I think I may have broken my nice story.