Thursday, 17 February 2011

The present sometimes changes the past

...when you're writing a novel, that is.  I found this every so often when I was writing Bunderlin. Some event which occurs in a later chapter would now and again mean that I would have to go back and alter an earlier chapter, perhaps to put a character in the right place for everything to make sense.

Or it can be very much more complex than that. Snig's Foot is a major reworking of an earlier novel. I've taken the core story and put it into a different location with several different characters so the restructuring can get a bit complicated at times. The latest alteration which I've made in the light of developments has meant moving a house about quarter of a mile from where I had been visualising it for the past six months or more. This happened because the main location where most of the action takes place is fictionalised. I tweaked it here and there to disguise it but not enough for it to be unrecognisable as somewhere in that particular part of Cheshire. But all the other, incidental locations get their real names. But then my latest chapter took my two main characters to Frodsham. And the point with that was that, for readers who know the area, it could be the final piece in a puzzle and make the location of Snig's Foot Cottage identifiable. So I had to shift it.

So, because Tom Sparrow has a boat moored on the Weaver I had to go back to Chapter one and rewrite his walk to the cottage. And now, if anyone should happen to identify it they will find no house, no clearing in the forest, just a lovely secluded placed amongst the trees. And the great thing for me is that this has much more of the atmosphere that I wanted to create.

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