I realized there were problems with the book through a few methods. I wrote a rambling email to a buddy (which I'm pretty sure he never answered :P nah--that's okay!) . I came up with this rather cliche idea for the bad guy... and then I started thinking about how I could make it less cliche and things started falling into place. I'm going to hash it out further with my critique group tonight. I'm also doing research. I have another hour of it scheduled today. I'm studying a time in history that fascinates me, and that fascination is what makes this story mine and no one else's. I'll take it as far as I can--to the lengths that make a book great, hopefully.
Then I started thinking in terms of conflicting beliefs, and made a list that looked something like this:
- Trinidad believes in the Church because it forms the foundation for his denial.
- Castile believes in the World because it forms the foundation for his faith.
- Father Troy believes in Life after Death because he is fascinated with the end times and is facing his death very soon.
- The Bishop believes in the Crusade because she lost her family to war and she relies on it for answers and revenge against God.
This made it easy to parallel Trinidad's and his enemy's dilemmas. They have similar histories, but their reactions are very different based on who they are. So I have more work to do in establishing character so that their different reactions make sense.
I also started asking myself why am I writing this book? Why won't it leave me alone? And when I had my answer to that, other things started falling into place, too. That answer isn't complete. I'm not sure it will be until the book is finished. But at its heart, the book for me is an exploration of extreme beliefs and all those journalistic questions of effect: What? Who? Where? When? and Why?