The past few weeks have taken me on a journey into the inner workings of my imaginary friends.
I set out to do make some ‘finishing’ touches on the beginning. The scenes are taking a shape slightly different but immensely better than I had originally envisioned. And I know that these will not be the final finishing touches.
First, though, I just want to let you know that I have this timeline spreadsheet. I’ve received some ridicule about spending so much time on it but it’s saved the day many times. It’s primary function has been to help me keep track of everyone’s ages in respect to the passage of time. Initially, I had not wanted (nor do I want it now) to tie it down to a specific year, but to keep ages intact, a spreadsheet needs a year. A date. Having written the series in reverse, I had to decide on a year I wanted the ‘last’ book to take place (in the future but not too far and then adjusted to take into consideration my five-year hiatus from the story.) I worked backward from there to determine when this or that happened. Most importantly, when did Oriana and Caleb meet, where and how?
And so, according to my walk backward in time from the future, it turned out, Oriana and Caleb met in October, 2012.
In the month of December, 2012, my timeline tells me that their relationship takes a turn (for the good or bad I’ll not divulge.) By sheer coincidence, I was actually working on those ‘scenes.’ Very fun to imagine two students at Northern Arizona University having this very discussion. Bizarrely fun. If you are familiar with the ‘world as myth’ theory, you’ll know what I mean. (Theory: alternate universes are created by fiction writers. It’s a Robert Heinlein thing. You can look it up if you’re curious—it isn’t something you need to know to follow the books.)
Working on this particular part—the absolute foundation of the stories—has made me discover that I didn’t know a lot about Caleb’s life. At least, the sports part. Face it, I’m a hockey fan. I can’t quote players and stats and such, but I love the sport and know how to follow the standings, whether it’s NHL or Peewee or Atom. So why do I have Caleb playing Baseball? Because it fits into the time frame. I don’t want him too involved with practices or games during the story. It’s a summer sport and I couldn’t see that they would be doing anything to speak of during the ‘school year.’ In short, I thought wasn’t a really important part of Caleb’s life. Not too important to the story.
I was wrong. It’s a big part of it. It’s one of the main things that’s going to make the beginning of the story real. And I didn’t know anything about it. I googled but couldn’t find much. At first, I panicked because it looked like NAU didn’t even have a baseball team. Nothing on NCAA. Then I found it. An email address for the president of the NAU baseball club. I sent my questions, hoping that it was a current email and not one of these pages you stumble upon that’s years out of date. And I waited. Five days later, I was blessed—yes, I said blessed—with a response. Austin (I’ll leave out his last name here) took the time to answer my questions, even added some information that I have found invaluable. Little tidbits of knowledge that created a real team for Caleb to be on. Real information that is the mortar holding the bricks of fiction together.
In a completely definitive moment of serendipity, I discovered that if I had done all this two years ago when I first wrote this chapter, my information would be outdated, and I probably wouldn’t have looked it all up again. I would have failed. But now I have all this up-to-date information. If you’re a student at NAU, you will believe this is happening. If you’re not, you will believe this is happening.
So now, just when things are heating up between our two leading characters, I’m completing my voyeuristic look into REAL campus life at NAU. What’s happening right now—just when it’s happening in the story. Pictures gleaned from the ‘net and from (my favourite) google maps (I love that little guy that goes down onto the street for me!) I’ve even discovered things via Facebook! All of these have given me an insight into what Oriana and Caleb saw around them when they first met. Real stuff. Like how much snow is there and some of the concerns THIS YEAR for the baseball club.
I. Love. It.
My plan now is to have a book launch there, right in the Cline Library. I want to sit at the table where Oriana was sitting when Caleb first spotted her.
Boy, have I learned how to spy!