The awkward beginnings.

Beginnings.   I don’t start a book unless I’ve got a good firm grasp of the first few pages, but that’s all I usually start with.  With Nathalie and Gideon slightly determined, I launched “Clearing the Way.”  The problem with my beginnings is that they never quite jibe with what actually comes, so I always have to go back and try to fix them to reflect what eventually ends up happening.  This one would be no exception… I originally envisioned Nathalie as the youngest child of a wild, hippy pairing, liberally and permissively raised.  Gideon, well, since he didn’t remember his history, I found knowing it at the beginning to be rather unimportant.   He’d tell me eventually why he was crazy and homeless.

So I had my liberal, hippy raised main protagonist.   My insane, homeless supporting male protagonist.  The end of the World.  And a snowstorm, but not just any snowstorm.  The end of the World needed to be announced with a 100 years blizzard, the kind that would close a city down for days.   And I had nothing else.  I just really hoped Nathalie would be a talker, loud and strong, because I was missing that relationship again.

So I took a deep breath, and took that leap of faith.

I did have certain hopes for this one…I was aiming for a certain edge of grit and realism.   I really love certain post apocalyptic works that have that edge, (SM Stirling is my favorite author for them) but for some reason, I seem to always back off of actually writing what my mind shows me.   It’s always been a fight to let my works reflect that dark side… “The Emperor’s Finest” did, but since then, they’ve been almost sanitized.   I didn’t want sterile, I wanted dirt.   Blood.   The end of the World is not supposed to be a clean occurrence.   And the work began on that edge, firmly establishing the fact that the relationship that Nathalie shares with her ‘dark man’ is not a purely sacred one.   I never wanted him to be “God”, he is much less than that.   He’s just a player in the game, not mortal, not normal, but very definitely not an omniscient, omnipotent being.   He has flaws, foibles, and he makes mistakes…otherwise, he’d be no fun to deal with, since it became very obvious very quickly that he would be more than a vague force in Nathalie’s life.  He’s a fully fledged other character with drives, desires, hopes and wishes.   When hit with that realization, I knew I’d actually have to spend more thought at the beginning figuring out what he wanted than what I was spending grasping what drove Gideon.

Originally, Nathalie was the chosen one, alone, and Gideon’s insanity of ‘talking to God’ was just that…insanity.  But that would place Gideon, who was supposed to be her other half, in a truly awkward and untenable position.  I’d already established that there forces at work that could be construed as ‘talking to God’, especially if a mind was already stretched thin.   The leap to decide that Gideon was chosen was a small hop, and suddenly his odd obsession with ‘birthdays’ clicked into its integral necessity in the storyline.

But… with every click into place, there come problems.  If Gideon was ‘chosen’ as Nathalie was, how had he managed to lose his sanity even when held close by a powerful spiritual being?   Damn…