Story Development – The making of Two

The process of writing Two began before I finished Blue Tent. I’m not sure I mentioned this in previous posts, but the idea came after I had woke from a dream in which I found some men standing behind invisible doors recording, or keeping track of the time it took to perform certain actions.

I made notes, because for several years I had wanted to visit the idea of time keepers, but had no idea what to do with it. I looked up Joseph Campbell’s monomyth for some ideas.

Whenever I think of the monomyth I think Greek. That is Odysseus. It’s an epic tale of a perilous journey, that ends well for the hero.  (ZB89W)

Replacing Odysseus with Two would not work, because my character was so different. First, he had no personal interaction with other humans. He did not have normal human experiences and he was a clone. In addition to this, there was the whole thing about the organization breathing down his neck.

Looking at the Odyssey, I began pulling out journey points and making links between the two stories. Odysseus had twelve ships, there were twelve time keepers. The storms in the Odyssey played a huge role, so there are several mentions of stormy weather throughout Two. Those mentions are usually at crucial (turning) moments in the story as they were in the epic.

Polyphemus was replaced with Bravo. Though Bravo was never as fierce as the giant cyclops, I thought he was scary in his own right. The Odyssey’s lotus eaters were replaced with the Serenites, cannibals with the coyotes.

These were my basic plot points. I began telling the story around them, filling it in and letting the characters take over to some degree.

The one thing I had not counted on was Bolina. Some interaction between Pete (Mary’s husband) and Two was necessary, because of Two’s relationship with Mary at the beginning. It had to be made clear that Mary was not a romantic interest. I began writing the scene between Pete and Two in the truck and then it spilled over into the home where Bolina was introduced.

Bolina kind of took over from there. Suddenly I was writing my grandmother, which is where the initial image of Bolina came from.

I wrote the end of the story several times. The first ending was from Joseph’s (Four’s) perspective, in which he watched Two attempting to fish for the first time. Then I re-wrote it a couple more times from Tomas’ (Two’s) perspective.

Once I finished with the story, I began reading aloud each paragraph. Re-writing took another week. Then another go-through with regular editing.

Then I sent out the advanced copies. I had no idea the help I would receive when it came to this, because I had never done it before. When the comments began appearing in my mailbox, the were informed and insightful. Grammatical and plot errors that made a huge difference in the way the story read. (DL35P).

The story took nine weeks to write, though there were times it felt like much longer. By the end of it, I felt like I had been living with the story too long, like the cliched ball and chain, I felt I could not move without thinking about it.

Yes, I enjoyed writing it, but damn I’m glad it’s done.

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