It’s been a bit of a battle but Ch12 is done! For me, the most distinctive part of this part of the writer’s journey, was the process of plotting. So far, any plotting that’s been undertaken in the writing of this novel has happened in a pretty loose and general way, but towards the end of this chapter I reached an impasse. I realised I had a lot of characters I’d set in motion mainly instinctively, heading in various directions that felt right, but for many of them, I still wasn’t sure where these journeys were going to end up, and how, and why. In other words, how to tie the whole thing up. And since there are only 3 chapters to go, I realised the time really has come to do some proper plotting.
I did what I’ve read (and seen in movies) proper writers are supposed to do. I went to the newsagent, bought a pack of lined cards and spent 5 days thinking, writing out ideas for scenes on cards, moving them around on a table, tearing them up and throwing them in the bin and writing new ones. And it worked – mostly. I reached the point where much of the action was plotted, but there still remained a gaping hole around the most urgent question of all: Who fires the shot that kills Viktor? An interesting thing about this process is that it forces your attention into these plot holes. It makes you notice them, and solve them.
I ended up with a card with 3 ideas on it: I guess I always imagined Gyorg firing that bullet, but when I asked myself “why?” I couldn’t come up with any very compelling reason. I also had Anton’s name on the card, and Röntgen, but none of them made very compelling assassins. Having any of them be the one that pulls that trigger doesn’t really add to the story, and so I became frustrated. But then, as tends to happen, after 5 days pondering these matters, I was at work having my lunchtime run when, out of the ether, the perfect answer magically dropped into my brain. It was an answer I hadn’t considered, but which makes perfect sense, might surprise some readers, builds on the tragedy of the novel nicely, and ties together a number of threads very efficiently.
I got back to my desk, unable to suppress my grin, and wrote down the epiphany on my phone before I changed back into my office clothes. Then I spent the next 2 nights going back and re-writing previous scenes in order to make my new plot work.
So now I’m past the 65,000-word mark and heading for a 75,000 minimum, well past the time target I set myself just 2 months ago, but with a good plot to write to. I’m gonna finish this sucker!