BRAZIL - The Making of a Novel - Part 3
As I let Brazil seep into my imagination, my first step was to compile a detailed chronology. Alongside this, I mapped out a genealogical timeline for my major families, initially the Cardosas and the da Silvas. I later changed the Cardosas to the "Cavalcantis."
As I worked on these timelines, I began to isolate the markers for my characters, the great events where I knew they would have to be present, the sidelines of history where there might be a role for them, as yet undefined and potentially as surprising to me.
The original Chronology extends from 8,000 B.C. with north-coast Andes sites of hunter-gatherers to 1981, the year I started my research. So, for example, from 1616 to 1681, the years covering the lifespan of my character, Amador Flôres da Silva, the bandeirante or pathfinder:
Once the Chronology was complete, I had enough material to flesh out my original plotting ideas in a detailed outline, proposing a saga spanning five centuries and involving multi-generations of two families, the Cavalcantis and the da Silvas whose stories depict the major historical elements in Brazilian society.
This ninety-page document comprised an Overview of the novel, Family Trees and the Outline itself.
My ideas would constantly evolve during a year of research and travel and throughout the actual writing. There would be many variations in the plot for I could not know where the characters I created would lead me but the broad plan held firm.