My first two novels, featuring Holmes's interactions with the Phantom and Jekyll/Hyde, were pretty easy compared with this one. Phantom and Jekyll/Hyde are fictional stories, and assuming an author is good enough at storytelling, can bend the contents of that fictional story to meet what their novel wants to accomplish. But you can't bend historical fact. I admit, in Jack of All Trades, I'm taking liberties with the things that are implied, or the things I simply don't know, so the story flows. My issue right now is the historical aspect of it. All the different inspectors, commissioners, policemen in general who had their hands in this case, all the facts presented, the false leads, the ones accused . . . How do I truly know what to put in?
I feel like this endeavor could completely consume me, and not in a good way, if I'm not careful. I want to write. I want to get this story told. I want this one out to the public and I want to see the reaction people have, even if they end up hating it. But I can't help feeling like the beginning, before the second murder (which is where I really start screwing with Holmes,Watson, and Erik,) might just wind up being its own river, with Holmes and Watson running along side, as it were, waiting for a time to jump in and truly mesh with the story. I haven't yet actually completed a Jack the Ripper/Holmes story, except for Michael Dibdin's. However, I have begun them. And one thing I notice is that Holmes is immediately there. He's part of things right off the bat. It doesn't feel like he was just grafted on later in a shoddy job that's goig to fall apart at the slightest tweaking.
I suppose this is my writing freak out. I'm writing from Watson's point of view right now, and I don't think any of his segments previous have been this long. Yet I can't switch because Holmes is only narrating about three segments in this novel, and Erik isn't present yet. He comes in after the paper releases news of Annie Chapman's murder.
I know once I get going with screwing with the characters and having the full interactions take place, I'll fare better than I am now, simply because that will be more fiction driven with the historical stuff still present, but more in the background. Now, the fictional stuff is more in the background and the historical stuff is up at the forefront. I just have to find a good balance, I guess. The last thing I want is for the start of the novel to read like some kind of boring history paper with Holmes and Watson present to make it seem better than it is, and the latter parts to read like some kind of overly-dramatised fiction with hints of historical accuracy.
Does anyone else have these freak-out moments when writing? I'd love to know I'm not alone.