The title of this post is very broad, but I’ll narrow it down and say that as I continue to write and revise Julius, I am making amazing new discoveries every day.
I wrote Julius during NANOWRIMO almost three years ago. The idea was to take a break from another novel that had no end in sight. And by that I mean I didn’t have the foggiest idea how to end the blasted story.
Julius was supposed to be a spoof about two very financially comfortable, hip urbanites who are very politically correct and decide to chuck the comforts of capitalism and consumerism to launch and run a left-of-left political magazine. Their story is about the trials and tribulations of being liberal in a frightenly conservative America and living in a city that has forgotten its middle-class and has become a playground and shopping mall catering to the wealthy.
But then came the revisions. My narrator needed backstory so I made her a former red diaper baby who is obsessed with The Spanish Civil War, Alvah Bessie and the Rosenbergs. As I wrote my main character’s interest, which in the first draft were a few lines here and there, I learned more about the Spanish Civil War (I already knew a lot about it from my mother’s stories–an Asturian Republican) , Alvah Bessie’s life and work, the Abraham Lincoln Brigades, the CPUSA, the history of the left during the 1930s,and of course Ethel and Julius Rosenberg. I discovered that my narrator’s obsessions became my very own.
But it’s more than that. As the story progresses and get revised, I’ve seen how the character has matured and is also going through a process of self-discovery of who she is,what her beliefs are, and what path she’ll take. It’s a revelation to see how this character has evolved so much and how real she has become.
As I continue to add more material, I make more and more discoveries and so does the narrator. All I can say is writing this book has opened up new worlds for me. And that’s something I never expected.