Abandoning the cop story for a bit, going back to a series I started writing ages and ages ago: Dingo and Walker. I finally figured out that if I really hate the thought of writing the first two books of backstory in order to get to book three where stuff actually starts to happen, maybe I should redo the backstory and just start the series with book three. Took me a year and a half of beating my head against the wall to figure that out, cause writers are slow to see what’s right in front of their noses. Thank you, Adi, for finally asking the obvious question. And while I’m at it, thanks so much to Mab, who also critiqued an early draft of Dingo and Walker, and to Susan, whom I’ve lately been trading critiques with, and whose stories are splendid and ought to be published.
But in any case, that change creates two problems: First, I no longer have a beginning for the story without making it sound like The Last Starfighter, so I’m wracking my brain for a good beginning. (I can’t just start further on and come back to it because if I’m massively changing the backstory of an espionage thriller then how the protagonists meet and what they know of each other is HUGELY important.
Second, and this relates a little to the first problem, I’m having an interesting case of Dark City here. If you massively change people’s histories, their childhoods, their relationships to each other, will their personalities change? Are you the same person if you meet your father figure at age 22 instead of age 7, and have to limp along without him until then? Will you even still need him by then? If someone killed your friend’s girlfriend, instead of an anonymous stranger, can you still accept him as a good guy? If you’re a level-headed, easy-going guy who no longer has a space-cadet best friend, what on God’s green earth is going to make you dabble in the occult?