An Unexpected Twist in the Tale


My characters took a surprising turn in the latest episode. Funny how that happens. I know it does, of course — writers talk all the time about how their characters come alive and begin to operate on their own, often surprising their creators with their decisions.

Although of course the details of the story were sketchy (at best — that’s why this is the 2nd draft) when I first conceived the plot, the general outline has largely remained intact. Save for the major change of having my main character arrive in Singapore two years earlier than he had in the original, aborted draft (which changed the nature of his relationships to some of the other characters as well as the beginning of the story), all other plot elements have remained the same.

This latest turn of events, however, sort of shifts the dynamics of much of the remaining chapters, as it means a very significant change in the way the two primary characters relate to each other.

But you know, the more I think about it, the more I realize that this twist was inevitable, that while I thought I had Thomas all figured out, in reality, the circumstances in which he finds himself (i.e., the Japanese invasion of Malaya, which brought the war home to Singapore) would of course require this new development. He’s just that kind of guy, and this was just that kind of opportunity.

How very funny.

On another note, I got another book through interlibrary loan today called The Singapore Grip, a well-reviewed, award-winning classic about the fantastic and ultimately fin de siecle society of pre-World War II colonial Singapore. The author won the Booker Prize for another novel, but this one is well-received and was reprinted in the New York Review of Books Classics Series.