Well-developed Bad Guys

Last night I was watching a National Geographic special  about a lost civilization called the Hittites. I know, you’re thinking the Hittites were in the bible, but according to NatGeo, there was another group by the same name whose civilization remained hidden. There was a lost language, and architecture, and even an army, but all in bits and pieces that are just being understood.

And this is where the trouble began.

In my new novel, the creatures who live in the forest seem to be working together for the most part. There are definitely different groups, but they have the same M.O. As I was watching Nat Geo, I wondered if these characters had their own culture, their own mode of communication, their own problems like the lost Hittite civilization. I started thinking about their issues, their motivation, their need for leadership and community. And that’s when I realized that this was as much important in my novel, as the story that happens to the main character and her father.

Well, damn. I intended for this to be a novella; something that middle-school kids could consume in an afternoon. And now, with all these new thoughts it seems unlikely that I will be able to construct two entire societies in conflict within a hundred or so manuscript pages.

It’s good in that I will be pushing myself creatively, but this is so not the direction I had intended. And it certainly means there is no way I am finishing this soon. The most difficult part of all of this is continuing to have faith in myself when I haven’t been able to sell any of my creative work lately. I keep getting re-hired to do non-fiction books, which is great because it keeps my family fed, but fiction is my real love and it’s tough to keep on plugging away when no one seems to think I’m worth their time.

And yet, I must plug away.