It's a damned complex book. I mean, I knew this all along, but I know it all over again.
So yesterday I drew up a Dramatis Personae. Named characters. Significant unnamed characters. (The killer angels, for instance, do not have names at this point, though they have distinct personalities and important roles in the story.) Named animals, mostly horses, oxen and dogs. (This is the Old West, after all.) Named places that are ahistorical. Named steam rams. And identifying the story year(s) in which each of these occurs, because the narrative spirals through the first 70 years of the nineteenth century, wandering across both space and time as the story unfolds.
I was laughing at myself for naming horses that don't even appear on the page, for example, while leaving all sorts of people referred to only by their presence in a crowd or their profession. It feels right, but it also feels complicated. I expect that by the end of the weekend I'll have begun laying down new words, but I need a very good handle on this indeed for this book to come together anything like my vision of it.
This is the most fun part of writing for me. Primary creation.
Just for fun, here's the named animals so far. One of them is an actual historical character (so to speak). I will leave it as an exercise for the reader to decide which names belong to horses, oxen and dogs, respectively. In some cases, it should be obvious.
- Little Dog
I am having a very good time with this.