over on the tumblr site, i did some posts about making this chart, which shows the basic plot of all three books.
it seemed time, and yet it was a little sad. there was a long stretch of this project that felt purely self-indulgent—following every little scene to its absolute end, letting conversations go on for the sheer pleasure of listening to these people talk, of flexing dialogue muscles i didn’t know i had. but that time is over now, and i can’t revise talassio without knowing, roughly, how everyone turns out, lest i write myself into a corner that i can’t undo two volumes later.
the rows are characters, both major and minor, and a few rows at the bottom are for relevant incidents in the various locations. the columns are months/stretches of time. the point was to get all the major events down: all the transits, who goes where and what might be happening to provoke them, the really big emotional shifts.
the x’d boxes are when a character is static, or hasn’t yet come on stage.
the small, dark, upright crosses are major deaths.
it’s not all to be written out, mind you; a lot of what’s up there is downright dull, and no one wants to read, say, about three months’ worth of verbal negotiations in england while **** is hitting the fan in paris. but it tells me who is where at any given moment, what fragment of the story they’re experiencing, what they know and don’t know and how they act accordingly . . . it also tells me that to focus solely on elisabeth would culminate in some kind of mystery-style confession at the end, when everyone tells her what’s really been going on, for the reader’s benefit. i need another POV throughout, another character or just a narrator, to hint at this larger structure and distribute reveals as it goes along.
a tricky thing—but that was part of why i started this mess in the first place: i do love tricky writing, and thinking about structure, and the pleasures of building such a clockwork mechanism, all the desires and ambitions and failings and foibles of people and how they inadvertently mesh together and make things happen.