thunderbolts and lightning
I am currently drafting the prequel to the recently released the Penitentiary (called the Fall and technically the first in the Panopticon series). I am beginning to think the story arc for the prequel might be a bit ambitious.
I am spanning a period in history from the dawn of time until 1879AD. Hundreds, thousands, and tens of thousands of years pass in the space of a few short pages through the first half of the book. I have drafted four chapters now, roughly 45,000 words, and am sitting in time at the Battle of Cannae (circa 216BC). It feels like I am only skimming the surface of a whole bunch of stuff into which I could really delve far more deeply.
The book is not really about certain events in time (this is more so given I am taking a fair bit of artistic licence in reinterpreting those events, rewriting history). It is about how those events impact on the motivations of key characters and drive their behaviour. Fantasy meets philosophy and I wonder if I can really do some of the most challenging philosophical ideas relevant to religion justice. The mythology related to gods is meaty.
Don't get me wrong. The story drafting is progressing nicely with all the usual important plot devices (such as conflict between characters, mounting tension). I believe that I can tell a great story within the acceptable word limit expected of fantasy novels (100,000-140,000). I am just starting to wonder if I could tell an even better story (richer in philosophical nuance) if I could really drill down into a "meaning of life" well.
I am interested in dipping into the religious interpretation of this BIG question. There is a logic to that given the Panopticon series relies heavily on the mythology of gods to tell the story. Figure that I will already be offending every religion on the planet with some of the ideas presented in the books, I may as well do more than just tip my toe in the water.
I will, of course, try not to read anything into lightning striking my home last weekend. A middle of the night violent storm scorched its mark on my rooftop aerial. The residual current flowing through my bedroom was enough to give me convulsions and an erratic heartbeat for three hours after the single second it took to rip through the room.
If this was the start of a conversation with God, I could be forgiven for thinking there might be some displeasure at the content of my creative efforts. (But then again, I survived the message sent through Nature, so perhaps it was just a jolt to remind me to keep on writing)...