I've moaned here before about the fact that I'd reached Chapter 4 and it still looked like a mainstream novel -- well that's because the novel that opens like that is a mainstream novel! I had fooled myself into believing that it was a fantasy novel, whereas in fact it's a fantasy novel plot all tangled up with a mainstream plot. There is, in fact, no significant cross over between the two and that's why it just wouldn't work. Also why I couldn't get the tone right. Though both are darkly comic, the tone and pace for the mainstream story has to be completely different to the tone required by the fantasy one.
Perhaps because my brain has had enough downtime over the holidays, it has finally realised this. I am now engaged in the delicate operation of teasing them apart. The existing cast needs reallocating to one novel or the other, more characters need taking on to give each novel a full complement of characters and I have to work out a new middle for one story and a new beginning for the other.
It also leaves me with two interesting problems:
- Can I write two novels set in an FE college or does the mainstream novel need an entirely different setting? (And if so, what?)
- Which one do I write first?