I was supposed to start writing the book in 2014, but then life got in the way as it has a habit of doing. One of the things I wanted to do last year, having left London for the quiet and cheap of Brussels, is organise the growing mound of research I’ve accumulated to help me tell the story. That included “mind mapping” the characters and relationships, the main themes, the regions, etc…

A year on I’m now getting down to do just that, life having smoothed itself out – and having swapped Brussels for New York City. A conversation with a friend led me to the work of pioneering non fiction writer John McPhee. In particular an article for The New Yorker from a couple years back that deals with how to structure non fiction stories. For anyone wanting to know more about that particular practice, I cannot recommend it enough.

Two days after reading this, I have five workable maps of the main characters and their relations. In the intended spirit of this blog – to share the book’s core elements in a disjoined format – I am sharing them.

These are first drafts, though they’re pretty close to solid I would say. The things that need tweaking or filling in are minor and I expect that to come as I continue to organise the research.

The people, labels and parties included are not meant to be definitive. Rather they’re the ones I’ve spoken to, covered or need as either key or peripheral elements. The various arrows and text are relational.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some more research to trawl through.






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