It was my entry for the letter O that tipped me off.
“Madame Crepusky again!” I said, surprised and pleased to see that that dubious lady had bobbed up yet again in my Blogging From A To Z.
And then I sat back, staring at my computer screen, in something like shock.
Because I had just realized that I was a god. Not a big God (note that I don’t appear to rate a capital G!), but a little one. Because I was building a world, and that is the action of a god.
I’d already planned, of course, to have one character (Lady Ermyntrude) who would provide a continuous thread through all of my posts (well, in the end, most of my posts; anyway, my A To Z entries are supposed to be her scrapbook…). But it took me until O to realize that a world was growing out of Lady E’s scrap-book.
If you write fiction, or know about writing fiction, you will (probably) not think that I am a raving, megalomaniacal lunatic. If you don’t, here’s one thing about it: sometimes, characters seem to take control of the story. For a writer, this is convenient. The characters seem to write the story for you. This saves the writer a lot of brain-strain. As a writer, I had experienced this before, and I knew that, when it happens, it is story-magic, and the proper thing to do is to welcome it (with certain reservations).
But, at the mystical letter O, I realized that I was experiencing something new. It was not a character that was coming alive, but a whole world. Lady E’s world, a world that is based on, and yet thoroughly unlike, England, 1890ish-1945ish, as represented in the popular fiction of that era (or rather, those eras), was developing a tone and a character of its own. And that had never happened to me before, as a writer.
And then all of the hours that I’d spent designing the images for my posts- I spent upwards of 8 hours on some of these babies- seemed worth it. Who cares if I spent an hour and a half designing telegram forms (for my T post)? It made Lady E’s world that much more real. And it didn’t matter that I spent perhaps 12 hours (not much of an exaggeration!) on the images for my O post; it was, as I said, at O that this My-World-Is-A-Character revelation hit me. Because it was while I was making the ad for “O is for… Omens” that I realized that Madame Crepusky had a career arc. Check it out:
A: First appearance of Mme. Crepusky. She is mentioned as almost inheriting money from someone’s aunt (in a Testimonial in an ad for Arsenic).
G: Ghosts. Mme. Crepusky is mentioned as being the medium at a seance, and having true mediumistic abilities. Since it is a seance in the home of an Earl, and since she is mentioned in an article in a learned journal dedicated to Psychical Research, she seems to have “come up” in the world.
O: an ad for the psychical services of Mme. Crepusky. At first, I thought that this was the height of Mme. Crepusky’s career: now I suspect that, after “coming up” in the world, she has gone at least a little bit back down again. I mean, advertising is so very… vulgar. Perhaps all of her fine friends have deserted her. Perhaps she has been exposed as a fraud. Who knows? But Mme. Crepusky does seem to be looking for a new market, in this post.
And World-Building crept up on me.
I didn’t see it coming.
There was a crashing sensation, and then everything went black.
When I woke up, my wallet and pocket-watch were gone.
And so was The Letter.