Craige McMillan, Novelist ©2018. Armageddon Story. Reader's page.
Dispatches Across Eternity. A novelist looks at Earth's Final Kingdom.

Can A Nation

Be Absorbed Into A Novel?

by Craige McMillan
Many novelists believe that their characters live outside of their books. I suppose the best of characters do have a life of their own; one that transcends their existence between the covers of the author's stories. They had a past before the reader met them. They have a future beyond what the author may choose to reveal to the reader.

Sometimes an author consciously knows these things. In my case, more often than not, I don't know. Characters enter the scene and the story changes to accommodate their past, present and future.

A novel doesn't belong to the author. It belongs to the characters. Characters that an author manipulates can't tell a meaningful story. Characters who exist in their own right not only tell the story, they live it. Their past shapes their present. Their present shapes their future. Yet the reader seldom knows what the characters do beyond their present existence in the story (although some history may be revealed to round out a character).

Such characters don't so much live within the novel as they do walk through it. A major character changes because of events and emotions of which the reader knows. A minor character does her bit to move the story along and then fades away. The memory of a good minor character remains in the reader's mind.

What happens, though, when both the reader and the author see events outside the novel begin to mirror those within? Have the characters been busy in what we call the real world, while the author was off in another part of the story? Did they work their mischief before the author met them? Or did they complete their part in the book and then go on to do something that altered the real world?

The nature of the characters in this novel series means that they did, indeed, exist before the story began. They are playing their part as I write it, not because I gave it to them, but because they revealed it to me. When I am finished they will continue on, working their mischief or creating their blessings long after the story I wrote and your read is finished.

In a world short on trust, readers and writers still operate on the idea of mutual benefit. Those who trusted me through Reconnaissance (volume one) and followed me into Behind Enemy Lines (volume two) have seen both time and distance as we know them begin to decay, through the minds and actions of those experiencing it firsthand. Volume three, Absolution (volume three), pits both the spiritual and physical concepts of eternity against one another. Distance has become meaningless; soon time will also.

Volume four sets up the conflict between the spiritual and physical versions of eternity erupts with full force. The characters who came early have gone on ahead, but I will soon catch up, as soon as the editing and publishing tasks are complete.

My eternal characters have now drawn the world into this novel. The conflicts and events we see taking place around us first stirred inside this novel series. Perhaps the supernatural, living as it does at once inside and outside our natural world, beyond time and distance, has finally wrested control over our destinies from us?

Absolution, volume three in the series, will be published this Fall. Drop me an email if you would like to be notified when it is available. I don't do anything else with these addresses.

Image courtesy of the Public Domain.


Pen graphic for contacting novelist Craige McMillan, creator of the Armageddon Story; Judgment, Interrupted novel series

Copyright 2018 Craige McMillan. All Rights Reserved.
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