Concept Mapping My Protagonist's World
In a recent staff retreat with the SmartPig minions, one of the topics of discussion was the success of the newest eBook, "Mickey Slips", and future related projects.
Tyler Cunningham, the protagonist in my first novel, "Here Be Monsters" has some significant social delays and/or deficits, but even so, he manages to create a network of acquaintances in the Adirondacks after he flees New York City following the loss of his parents on 9/11/2001.
He builds the relationships, as we all do, through interactions in his daily life. Tyler's interactions are limited due to his social awkwardness and lack of understanding of the rules that most people learn in childhood, but still present. He is not a comfortably social being, but his needs and likes determine the shape of his world nonetheless.
We'll use a concept mapping program to lay out his world in terms of the activities he engages in, and the people that he is forced to relate with through those activities. From that map, I will work my way around the map, continuing my work on backstories (many of these people already have backstory notes from my planning notes for the first novel).
"Mickey Slips" was the product of just this type of backstory work, and a discussion with some interested readers who expressed an interest in finding out more about the relationship between Mickey and Tyler hinted at in "Here Be Monsters".
While the short story presented in "Mickey Slips" takes place after the events of "Here Be Monsters", other stories focusing on the characters in Tyler's world may take place in the months and years before my first novel took place (as is the case with my current WIP, a short involving Cynthia, a character from the novel, and Maurice, Tyler's landlord)
My primary interest is in deepening the backstory on Tyler's world, but also to find which of the people and/or aspects of his world could make for interesting stories. I'd like to eventually work my way around the map of Tyler's social world in stories, and release a collection in print and eBook formats.
If you have any characters or events in Tyler's life of particular interest, please feel free to get in touch with me, and who know ... maybe a story will come out of it.