Hi, Everyone! The crux of my assassination plot (prequel, Keshu’s story) was: Keshu should be caught, Damu should escape; Keshu’s connection to Madhavrao or anyone else had to remain a mystery.
The year was 1912. Just how could an escape be arranged? While there were cars in India since 1901, I imagined they were few and far between—and so most definitely anyone escaping in a car would be very easy to identify.
There was no help to be had from studying actual assassination attempts made by the revolutionaries. Most of the times (as it seemed to me then) not only did they kill the wrong person they had no escape plan and were caught red-handed. Well, that was not going to happen in my plot.
To add to this, Pune was a British military camp—likely to be crawling with soldiers in uniform. Out the gun would come and shoot Keshu and Damu at the first inkling of an assassination. And my novel would die a premature death.
But I was not going to give up Pune. No!
After cudgeling my brains for a while, I got it! The Empress Gardens, a botanical park, was the perfect venue:
· Adjacent to the hilly forest area
· A botanical Society function was not likely to be attended by military personnel.
I studied the map of Pune very carefully and charted out an escape route for Damu on horseback. It was all very workable. I was jubilant.
It was when I got to the police investigation that I spotted some weak links in the plot. At this point I walked the tricky tight-rope. I had to:
· make the plot fool-proof
· show a police investigation that met only dead-ends
· and yet the British should be able to present some case.
I love murder mysteries and crime shows. The knowledge that has seeped in from these came very handy. I thoroughly enjoyed working it all out—and with success! It did make me appreciate why so many actual revolutionary assassinations went haywire. They didn’t have my advantage of being able to go back and make changes!
It was a very tough decision to delete this whole story from Burning for Freedom. But I had to face facts. Strictly speaking, it wasn’t necessary to the plot of my novel. If I was a famous author, I might have got away with 600 pages and more. But as an unknown author . . . . So I dropped the axe.
Only the thought that I can release a prequel put the smile back on my face.
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