Since two years I’m trying to finish the fourth part of my pentalogy The Maharajagar. Since I’m a dedicated plotter, I started with an outline as I did with the previous parts of this series.
To recapitulate, The Maharajagar is a contemporary retelling of the story line whereupon the Mahabharata rests. The fourth part of The Mahabharata describes in four chapters the year that the five Pandava brothers had to remain incognito in their own empire to avoid another twelve years of exile and is called Virata.
Virata was the king of Matsya Kingdom, in whose court the Pandavas spent a year in concealment during their exile. The book is divided in four chapters and I estimated that an actualized retelling should take about 200 pages. But nothing worked out as I planned.
In my series the Pandava brothers are replaced by a Qi-tet, loosely based upon the concept of the Ka-tet that Stephen King developed in his Dark Tower series. The first chapter of The Maharajagar required me to give over 26 pages a description of the different disguises the individual members would take upon them, based upon their secondary skills. The Matseya Kingdom became a huge ranch in Nebraska, and Virata a young heiress who has to deal with a conglomerate of hostile bankers, industrialists, politicians, and gangsters.
At this point of my writing, I’m about halfway the first chapter and the page count is about 49 pages, a far cry from the planned 26 pages and I got completely stuck. The story line sits in my head, but somehow it doesn’t come out in words. Or when it does, it’s some boring rambling prose that only half-heartedly connects with the sub plots I developed in the previous three parts of The Maharajagar.
The only good thing that came out of it is that in my frustration to get around this writer’s block, I turned to compose music and paintings. I discovered that they were very complementary forms of art to express the vision that underlies my writing project.
However, after more than a year of experimenting with other art forms, people started to inquire what happened to The Maharajagar. Not to mention that I abhor unfinished projects.
So, this morning I woke up at five o’clock to stare with quiet desperation at my 49 pages manuscript, trying to figure out if I should start over or try to repair what went wrong. I think it should be a little of both since I can’t find anything amiss with the outlined plot.
I will not hide that I’m using this post as a sounding board to order my own thoughts about this subject. In fact, I believe it might have helped to formulate what was bothering me and if any among the readers of this post happens to have a suggestion of the way to deal with this issue, they’re more than welcome to share their thoughts.