Hello, friends. I’m at a critical point in Monsoon Season – about 70% through a first draft – and things are starting to come together fast. I’m at that amazing, terrifying, highly adrenalized point at which I start to think about the novel ALL THE TIME. Even when I shouldn’t be. And I still don’t know how it’s going to end.
One of things I’ve been turning over in my head is, Am I willing to take significant liberties with history? Here’s the situation: a series of events occurred in January 1947 that are important to my novel. There is a second, separate series of events that occurred in May/June 1946 that would make a delightful backdrop. The events of January ’47 are central to the plot. The events of May/June are under-reported and quite astonishing in themselves. But I can’t fit them both in without merging the timeline – that is, without transplanting the events of January ’47 to May/June ’46. That’s a big, bold compression of time.
With the Agency novels, I began with an ahistorical premise in order to create Mary Quinn’s world. But once things were in place, I stayed true to historical events. I haven’t quite decided what I’m going to do here. I’m very tempted to crunch the timeline in order to wedge my set-piece into the novel. It would be astoundingly good fun. But would that undermine the rest of the novel’s historicity? It’s an especially critical question because this novel is about history, the limitations of history, and the silencing of some histories.
There are other scenes I can write while this simmers at the back of my brain, so I’m going to keep turning this over for a little while. Right now, I’m leaning away from including the set-piece because it seems more like self-indulgence and convenience than anything else. But we’ll see.
What are you up to, this week? Any there burning writerly philosophical questions haunting you?