Friday, March 1, 2019

Okay, what if he's just there?

I keep coming back to the book about the necromancer and the plague, even though it's been frustrating me for years now. I have so much of it clear in my head: my protagonist, the various antagonists, a wide variety of supporting casts and backstories, the world in general and several specific settings.

What I don't have, what I'm not sure I've ever really had, is an actual story.

I think that's because I want to do too much with it. As much as I love the world and the characters and the basic conflict, I also have -- and love -- a whole host of specific moments, and I don't think I can set up all of them in the same timeline. (Author Sam Sykes wrote a novella just so he could have a scene where someone gets beaten to death with a bucket full of human waste, and I really understand how a writer could find himself in that sort of situation...) (Fun book, by the way, if you like that sort of thing.)

I want the part where the main character slipped away from his friends and has basically been in hiding for a year, just so he wouldn't have to be reunited with his family. I want the part where he's using necromancy to stop a plague, because magically reanimated corpses are effectively embalmed and don't spread germs. I want the part where, spell-speech aside, he doesn't have any powers; I also want him to have powers. (But, y'know, maybe later on in the story? Or in the series?) I want him to explore the moral implications of having enormous power, but maybe not yet. I want him to be helping a group of kids with serious ambitions, but I also want him to have the kind of nightmares that crawl off and endanger other people. I don't think those two things can happen at once. There's a possible version/piece of the story where he winds up helping the city watch because the creatures that are attacking people are the same creatures he used to have nightmares about, but that requires an entirely different opening and an entirely different storyline.

I'm going to have to kill some of these visions, and probably put stakes through their hearts, cut their heads off, and fill their mouths with garlic. I can't do all of this, not in one story.

But I think I might have found a way to do most of it.

I think so, but we'll see.

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