I’ve just rounded page 175 of the first draft of my novel. That's not quite half way through. Based on the story's expansion, I anticipate the final first draft will hit close to 500 pages.
Last week I had a breakthrough moment, where I learned that one of the storylines I was writing really had one emotion at its heart. Grief.
Looking back, it’s obvious to me that that was the focus all along. After all, you can’t write a story about going back to a place you left behind, and going through a deceased loved ones things, without a requisite trip into the past and all it held. Without the longing for the person no longer there, and realizing the space huge they’ve left.
Today, I woke up to the realization that my opening chapter happens in a very different way than I originally imagined. That the two story lines start together on a day of celebration. The main characters meet, and spend time together on a pivotal day in history, then go back to their regular lives, ever changed. With big things set in motion.
If you ask what my novel is about, I will tell you: It's about time travel and hoarding. That remains completely true. It's also about the imprint that events leave on the things around them. And how recorded history could use more interpretation. That maybe facts are mutable. And it's a quest. It's about these characters who are asked to figure that out.
And the deeper in I get, and the more I get to know the characters, the more amazed I become at the path they illuminate for me. Every day, they bring great joy and uncertainty to the process.
These discoveries excite me. They unmoor me. Both at once.