Yesterday I had a flash of inspiration for my NaNo this year. I already said that I want to try writing backwards – each chapter goes further back in the timeline. Well, yesterday on the drive to work (great way to percolate ideas) I remembered Cassandra, the Greek tragic figure whose accurate prophecies were doomed never to be believed. I’ve always wanted to do something with that character, but it never seemed like the right time.
So basically, the god Apollo gave mortal Cassandra the gift of prophecy. He was in love with her, but she didn’t return his affection. Angered by her rejection, he turned the blessing into a curse by making it so that nobody would ever believe her predictions, even though they were always dead-on. She knew the Greeks were hidden in the Trojan Horse, but they didn’t listen and we all know about the massacre that followed.
I know I want to use the mythology of Cassandra, but not follow the story directly. More importantly, I want to play with time even more. It’s one challenge to write a novel that makes sense and has surprises for the reader when every scene comes before the previous one. It’s another challenge for my main character predict things that, to the reader, have already happened. I think the end of the novel, which is the beginning of the story, will have to include some predictions that have come true, and at least one critical prediction that has not come true YET. Like Cassandra predicting her own death.
Yesterday I spent a lot of time at work looking in books and on websites to try to get as much information about Cassandra as I could. I copied down pages and pages of stuff into my novel notebook, and I’m excited to see where this goes. I can definitely say this year’s novel is going to be an interesting ride.
Now if I could just figure out a plot…
I'm glad to see you posting again and I love the new blog.This sounds like a great concept. It's so difficult to devise a plot around a character who can see the future because the suspense is gone before anything begins. Working backwards through time is an interesting fix. Good luck!