Answering Fiona's question

I didn't want to derail the other thread, so I set up this one.


To answer Fiona's question - back when I ran the poll to see what story would follow NMAI, people voted for TSLADODF, based on Diggory meeting Calla. Unfortunately, only one chapter existed, so I had to write quickly.


Because NMAI was a sprawling, experimental epic I intended to make Diggory a character study - what defined a man and what would challenge him? The main motivator in fiction and life for change is usually love, so I gave him an intense love interest. What would he do for her with only a year to live?


It was meant to be a short, contained story. The only twist was that Calla was always intended to have a twin sister (Dahlia) and they were pretending time travel to steal his money. It was supposed to be a Matchstick Men-esque con story.


But then the Franklin Building exploded and Zebediah showed up and suddenly there was the mob, the FBI, the CIA, the Sons of Thunder and epic sprawl. What was intended to last maybe a year went on for five before the hiatus, and there is still more to come.


I'm kind of amazed because in my memory it was always a time travel story, and it being a con would have been a startling twist. Ha. Well it was still a con to some extent.


At last count, Calla was conning Diggory at the request of Dahlia, who was conning Calla for the Continuity Integrity Agency, at Johnson's request, who was working with Zebediah who also conned Diggory. Dahlia conned Matt into conning Diggory as well. It is a complicated story.


So far the only "honest" person is probably Diggory, poor guy.


Dahlia and Calla conning Diggory together would have been way simpler, and the fun premise was getting readers to believe in time travel with Diggory as narrator, innocent of the deception. Zebediah showing up one day with his own plans was a shocker for me as a writer, though I enjoy the story a lot more, thanks to his intervention, honestly.


That crazy Zeb.


It is pretty crazy how Zeb came about in the writing process.


Usually a story comes to me as a premise, almost like a question pops into my head. What if the government designed super soldiers following 9/11? What if demons attacked cowboys? NMAI was an exception because I pictured scenes in my head, and I'm not a very visual person that way.


Zebediah popped into my head visually one day, in what became the confrontation between him and Diggory at the soccer field. I pictured all the details and I'm pretty sure some of the dialogue popped in too. So instead of a logical process from a premise that suggests a plot which requires a setting and characters, I got a scene and character that hijacked a story.