Finished the third chapter of Led to the Slaughter: The Donner Party Werewolves.
I'm restricting myself to one chapter per day -- trying hard to keep the whole process fresh. Interestingly, the chapters are coming in at 2000 words each, which is at least 25% larger than most of my chapters in my other books. So apparently, my subconscious refuses to write less than that.
I'm trying to be historically accurate in the large, but making it up in the small. Making up many of the names of secondary characters, and descriptions of known characters and so on. I may go back later and try to give my characters real names, but for me it's story first, accuracy later.
My compromise is that I'm trying not to contradict any of the known facts. I don't think I'll be able to get through the whole story that way, but as much as possible, I want to stick to what is known, embellished by fiction.
I have as my main two protagonist, the father and daughter of James and Virginia Reed, who are to me the most interesting characters in the real story.
But these two characters aren't going to be enough to carry all the viewpoints of the story. The Donner Party disaster was very chaotic -- just like in any good horror film, they kept splitting up and feuding with each other.
There was a gentleman in the real party named Stanton that seemed to be in the middle of many of the events that the Reeds weren't, so I think I'm going to bring him in as a viewpoint character. I'm not sure whether he'll end up being a major villain or a major good guy. Maybe won't know until he reveals himself. I think, though, he's going to have to be a good guy.
My goal is to weave a believable story with the available facts, without warping those facts too much.
For instance, if Stanton and Pike get lost, and Stanton wakes up to realize that Pike has changed somehow, and they barely survive to rejoin the main group. Later Pike is shot, supposedly by accident.
Well then, in my story, Pike has been bitten and when he turns, someone shoots him.
That kind of thing, all through the story.
For maybe the first time, I'm feeling like plotting and outlining isn't a choice.
This story is so complicated and there are so many things going on and
so many characters to keep track of, that even simplifying it I'm
I'm going to have to try to be very clever.
As much as possible I'd like to stick to the known facts, and give them a little twist.
3 days ago