I’m working away on my latest chapter of ‘The Paris Affair’ and I’ve run into an interesting situation. One of my main characters (Jack Burrows) is in a café in Paris. The first question I came to is which café. Obviously there are a lot of café’s in Paris to choose from. So it was on to Google where I came across a photo of Les Deux Magots in the 6th arr.
Within seconds of watching a video on the site http://www.lesdeuxmagots.fr/index.php (which thankful has both French and English versions of their site, TG!) I knew that this was the perfect place for Jack to go without drawing attention to herself.
Why would I want to do that you ask? Well when you’re going to read a journal filled with who knows how many secrets you don’t want to stand out in the crowd. So why not send my character to one of the most visited café in Paris? A place where you can rub elbows with editors, drink in the atmosphere where some of the greatest literary minds discuss their most notable creations?
Cut to the journal… where Jack reads about a secret meeting and comes across a name she does recognize Philippe de Bel. Now comes the difficult part. How much information about a real character should you incorporate into a fictional characters life? You’re writing a spy novel, not a biography. This is where a writer (such as myself) has to decide how much to put in and how much to leave up to the reader to research. Also how will introducing this little piece of history to the big picture play out? Will it come up later on? How important is it to general plot?
All these questions and more come into play when writing one chapter and how they are answered can affect the entire story and possibly the entire series. Decisions… decisions…
~Christa L Sagmoe (theavidpen)