Yeah, so um, I was swearing I would keep the backstory down. And I am! But there’s lots to see and do in Jesse’s past. I’ve kept the focus narrowed, though, to a shortish time frame. So while there will be more like 15k or so of backstory for him, it’s different than it’s been in previous novels.
In said previous books, I’ve been really interested in my character’s childhoods, and how that directs who they are now. Especially when you’re gay, let’s face it, your childhood is NOT normal, your place in the world is already NOT ordinary. And besides, interesting people don’t have boring childhoods. Boring children grow up to become boring adults, which hey, more power to you if you never have a day of angst, but that makes you a really shitty character for a novel.
So. This time, no childhoods, by design. Partly to razor off the kind of wordage that imbalanced “Faith” and left little time for current events (and, he said commercially, got me bad reviews and cost me $$$). But what else is shaping up differently here is how specifically the backstory elements are driving the contemporary narrative. So these particular events that shape Marc and Jesse are key plot drivers, not just character fleshing. So I’m happy with the configuration; I don’t feel I’ve “compromised” anything.
Progress has been slow since the Allerpocalypse, and of course I’m the laziest most shiftless person in the world if I don’t write a novel a day. But, I’ve got my villain fleshed out this morning, and a believable politico-technological scenario, and the Dramatic Twist. So I’m happy.