My book is about the early days of basketball in Northern Indiana. As one might imagine, some research is mandatory before even starting a novel about a time period that’s different from the one the writer resides in. I did much research for my novel before I had even considered writing a novel about the subject I was researching.This might sound strange, but I’ll bet many a novel has been generated inadvertently by people who were researching a subject for reasons other than writing a piece of fiction about it.
I spent many hours over the course of several years reading newspaper archives about the earliest days of basketball in Indiana. Those hours helped me form an idea in my mind about what the early days of basketball looked like, sounded like, and smelled like. All I had to do was make a list of characters, form an image of them in my mind, and put them together in scenes so that they could socialize and get me on my way.
That’s how I developed my story. Now I’m redeveloping it in a way. I changed a few things in the story, as I’ve mentioned before, and am just now rewriting it so that the changes aren’t noticeably changes.
I’m in Chapter 6, having just dealt with how Ivan Stetler can show up at a basketball practice session and end up in a dispute with the coach. After breaking Ivan’s leg, I had to rework the encounter to incorporate Ivan’s disability. I also now have to deal with a change I made in Chapter 5. I introduced several young women who had not been in previous drafts. They helped to convince Ivan to assist in the coaching of the new boys’ basketball league. Having introduced them, it’s tempting to reuse their characters further in the story. But I have to be careful with the number of characters. Too many people and too many names makes things confusing. Not only confusing for anyone who might read the story, but also confusing for me.
In another development, I switched a character named Marie from being the girlfriend of George, the narrator, to being the girlfriend of Crandall Dorsey. Now I have to deal with this major revision for the remaining 250 pages.
Another thing: Having only briefly covered the playing of basketball by women in the sport’s early days, I now feel obligated to give that aspect of the sport more attention. How to do so without expanding the story beyond manageability? Perhaps that topic would be better served in a separate volume.