Writing Irish Firebrands was usually fun, but it wasn’t always pleasant. Many of the characters had flaws that were difficult for me to write about.
Sometimes what I wrote seemed to look like one of Chekhov’s Guns. That was when I’d ask the Muse on duty, “Why do I have to write that?”
I usually got some noncommittal grunt, and, “Just do what you’re told.”
Once, I asked, “Are these some sort of red herrings?”
That day, there were two of them: Melpomene and Clio. Melpomene got all huffy: “I’ll have you know, I don’t work that way! I-“
Clio interrupted. “Go ahead and tell her, Mel. She may as well know it, now.”
Melpomene pouted for a moment, but then she said, “Okay. Those things are there, because there was another tragedy in that house, which you’re gonna to have to write about.”
I said, “Whaddaya mean? I’ve written more than a hundred thousand words, already.”
Clio said, “Mel’s right. They have to be there, because they tie this novel to the book that comes before and the book that comes after.” When I gawked at her, she said, “You’re writing a family saga, not a stand-alone.”
I’d already done about 6,000 words of respite writing, on a sequel about one of the secondary characters, but this was news to me; nevertheless, after three years of writing and nine months of editing the first book, I started writing a prelude novel which begins 101 years before the first story.
Calli has retained overall control. The new novel (The Passions of Patriots) is historical, so Clio has the most influence, and Mel has a larger role, for although Rati’s love story shapes the plot, it’s not a romance. Euti has added Wagnerian music to her inspirational repertoire. Thal, Terp, Polly and Rani have flagged various plot holes with sticky notes in their favorite colors.
One morning, somebody left a paper written in Greek on the kitchen table. When I copied it into Google Translate, it turned out to be a grocery shopping list. There were nine different brands of canned beans on it.
Looks like the stockings are in my sink to stay….
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