A few months back, I started a story about an unusual slave. Within the Silence is pure fantasy, but I did set out to make a point. The story is told from the slave’s point of view, about his life with his master and what happens when a stranger starts asking questions. I expected it to come to about five or six thousand words. What did I know? It just hit 10,000 words and is still going strong.
Maybe this is what happens when your focus is on character rather than plot. I didn’t really know much about the slave when I started, and I was more interested in the plot and how it would end. I knew roughly how it would end, but not the specifics, so I had to leave it for a while to ripen. Then NaNo came along–another delay. Then finishing and publishing Privileged Lives. And now I’m working on the story again. What’s happening now is that the slave’s inner life is opening to me and the story is becoming richer and more detailed than I’d anticipated. The stranger’s questions have burrowed into the slave’s head and made him start asking questions of his own. Maybe his life hasn’t been quite as he’d always thought it was.
As interesting a process as this has been, I’m looking forward to the end, even though I still don’t know all the details. Another two or three thousand? I hope that’s all.
(If someone asks politely, I’ll post the beginning of the story sometime this week.)