When I started thinking about my idea for the novella, I went back and forth between starting the pov characters before Yellowstone erupted or plopping them right into it. I wanted to explore how this changed these characters and how this urban fantasy setting would integrate the magic and the technology, and that would be better paced with a before explosion segment. I decided to go with a post-explosion start, ultimately because of the page limit. This is a novella, not a novel and I ain’t got endless amounts of time or pages to devote to in-depth world building.
What I feel I’ve truly given up in this decision is the character relationships that need to be fluid in this piece. These students had a life before this disaster and they all knew each other, to some extent, and I’m currently trying to figure out how to smoothly narrate how these people knew each other without going ‘so and so was in this person’s class. They sat next to each other and now they are friends,’ or ‘they just hate each other, end of story.’ I think reading Cold Mountain has been helpful with my sense of time in prose. I feel like I don’t have to do things in the exact order in which they occur. My goal will be to organize the events by ideas, instead of their actual order. We’ll see how that turns out.
Another debate I’m having with myself is whether or not I should put in any romantic subplots. I generally don’t do this because I find the courting processing boring and contrite, but everyone seems to think that Noah and Michel have chemistry, but that might be because they are really the only two characters to fully interact. I’ll have to see how everyone reacts to other character interactions before I believe that I accidently made character chemistry.
I’ve been fiddling around with different types of magical systems, and there are literally thousands of variations, both modern and tradition, that I could choose from. And on top of that, I have to figure out how to blend it with modern technology in a realistic way. Obviously, there will be more than one type. Maybe with the dominance of the scientific method and invention of technologies that rely on gathered energy rather than energy, some types of magic systems would be phased out or dismissed because they were found to be inefficient compared to the shifts in technology, but then I would have to figure out just what magic focuses on.
Overall, I’m not feeling set in my novella yet. There are a lot of things still up in the air for me, and that’s a new experience for me. I’m usually sure of my characters and my mechanics before I actually start writing. But then again, all the other things I write are not up to par, so maybe this will be a good experience for me, just making things up as I write.