As I continue on this long and epic journey of plotting and writing my novel(s) and blogging about it, I’ve come to realize that I have spoken (well, written, if one wants to be technical about it) very little about what this Epic Saga (and yes, that has to be spelled out with capital letters to stress the import and enormity of what has been planned out) will actually entail. There are several reasons for this – one of which can summed up in this blog’s title: “Spoilers…” (I’m almost certain that there’s a certain percentage of readers out there who saw and read that single word and thought of Alex Kingston’s voice and her exact intonation of that simple yet complex word).
Yes, I’ve become a Whovian (albeit a fairly new fan) – watching (and re-watching) episodes of Doctor Who (especially those in the 11th Doctor’s tenure, plus a few from the 10th Doctor’s tenure) has given me much insight to how to structure long story arcs and how to use the multiple meaning of certain words and/or phrases and present them in a way where they can be interpreted as nuggets of truth or possible red herrings. Misdirection and playing on preconceived presumptions [try saying that three times fast] are tools often used to enhance the element of surprise. This has had quite an impact on how I approach my writing: how to develop my characters and the myriad of connections / relationships one character may (or may not) have with another, and how the character’s actions, inactions, and/or their very existence impacts the plot of not only the novel in which they live, but of the entire story arc (and in the case of the MASC Chronicles, the entire Saga. Maybe.)
Describing and/or explaining what the MASC Chronicles is about and relating who the characters are and what their motives are is a tricky business when the genre in which this Epic Saga takes place is primarily mystery (with dashes of horror, fantasy and a bit of science fiction). As the author and creator of this universe, which, as of now the entire Saga (not just the first part) will be in an alternate Steampunk-infused world, I will need to be holding all the cards (so to speak) and only showing you (the reader) just enough of what is up my (proverbial) sleeve. Moreover, the reader may (or may not) know more about what is going on in the story than the characters do – one of the benefits of employing first person perspective narration over the more omniscient third person perspective. As the creator of this universe, I will have final say of who knows what and when and how and why, and having said that, it’s difficult to know how much to impart prior to the actual writing of the story, and to whom certain truths (or mistruths) are to be shared without spoiling the (possible) plot twists that will be revealed (eventually).
Of course another reason for the hesitation of explaining what the Epic Saga is about is a simple one: I have no idea myself how this Epic Saga will turn out – it’s been an evolving (if I can use “evolving” in this context) process spanning many, many years (as my initial blog post can attest) and has changed over the years (again, as my initial blog will attest). The narrative plot and character development is an organic work in progress, sometimes with minute changes, and sometimes with monumental changes, both of which will have an impact (both large and small) on every facet of the story. With this seemingly constant and consistent element of change and the Unknown, it give me as the author and creator much to ponder about, and has filled many pages of Word files (and many legal pads) of musings about plot, characters and other random thoughts. Some are whimsical, nonsensical thoughts (often conjured from somewhere in my mind usually in the middle of the night as I’m drifting off to sleep) that lead nowhere, while others are no less than major epiphanies (that again often occur as I’m drifting off to sleep) that both clarify and complicate matters.
I do have (somewhat of) a clear notion of how the first part of the MASC Chronicles will play out – as I’m very much a plotter, I have (very) generally outlined the fourteen novels (well thirteen novels plus one prequel) of the first part [Tainted Blood] and (kinda) plotted of the pacing of Important Plot Points to maximize the build up to the Big Reveal (though I’m stymied at the moment of how to handle the Fallout). That being said, I’ve tentatively started to think about the overall story arc of the second part [Fatal Illusions] and the allusions that series will have to the first part; I have yet to ponder what will happen in the third part [Buried Secrets] but I have tentative ideas.
So, you may ask, “What does ‘MASC’ in the MASC Chronicles stand for? To what does each of the titles of the three series [Tainted Blood, Fatal Illusions and Buried Secrets] refer?”