One of the things I’ve realised in working through the development of this story cycle is just how malleable plot is. The origins of the Lenticular books led me to write a bunch of short stories – a serial in fact – published on the Nuketown website in the late Nineties.
I look at those stories now with a somewhat embarassed sense, because the writing lacks nuance. Even so, the key plot points from those early attempts have survived into the novel sequence, but the furniture has shifted and reshifted over the intervening years. Whole plot elements have disappeared, or been combined, or altered radically. Despite all these plot changes, I haven’t broken it.
Themes, of course, are another thing. I didn’t set out to write to a particular theme, but as I worked on the story I began to understand what it was about. And I think that understanding then informed the plot changes which in turn strengthened the expression of the theme in a symbiotic, back and forth manner.
So the Lenticular Series has become a work that explores the role of outsiders as agents of change in society. Both my protagonists, alien and human are ‘outside’ the society they belong to. One because he’s always been that way, the other because of what she did. But as these two societies clash, it is the ‘outsider perspective’ of my protagonists that help them not simply to react, but to act to change the way things are. To mould the unexpected around them into something that contains meaning for both societies engaged in the struggle. It’s transformational on both a personal and species level.
If I started out being excited by the plot I was creating from a ‘flash of inspration’ I find now at the end that I’m equally excited about the meaning that can be extracted from the thematic overlay to the action.