I’ve been thinking about The Young City and I’m finding it interesting (though frustrating) that the story is going in several directions at once. I have in my hands several characters and plot elements, and though one leads into another, they all want to go their own way.
For instance, you have Peter and Rosemary falling into a buried river. The buried river is a neat portal that takes them back to 1884 Toronto. It has the potential to contribute to several themes: the subjugation of nature, buried feelings, the undercurrents of sex in a developing relationship between two young adults. So, Peter and Rosemary find themselves in 1884 Toronto. They need food, shelter and clothing. They need someone to take them in. Who are these people?
…How about Faith and Edmund Watson, a brother and sister who are potential ancestors of Rosemary. Edmund runs a pawn shop, and his sister… his sister voted for the first time in the civic election that year. She’s a suffragette and a temperance supporter. She’s bold: one of the first medical students in Canada. This produces an immediate kindred spirit for Rosemary and an interesting relationship between her and Edmund. They spar over Faith’s suffragette ideals, but Edmund loves her completely, and is doing all he can to pay her way through University, even going so far as to risk the financial health of his enterprise, and falling in with the wrong people…
…Ah, yes. Aldous Magnait. A criminal with his own developing underworld. Here The Young City gains its main villain. The character set is almost complete. But how to tie things together? Aldous’ connections with the underworld suggest an obvious link with the river (which is going underground), but what, if anything, does he have to do with the time travel element? Does he profit from it? How do we turn Peter and Rosemary’s strong drive to get back into the river and get back to 1999 into a strong drive to face up to Aldous? Though the elements of the story are linked to each other by a strong thread, that thread has not turned back into itself. It dangles in the air, teasing me like a cat, making me want to swat at it.
Oh, well. I just have to think about it some more.