...only it's not actually part of the Dictel trilogy. Bad Company and Black Science are still so unfinished, there's no way I could get all three novels in the trilogy finished before NaNoWriMo 2010. So I'm writing a side story.
It's called Dirty Pop, and it accounts for Charlie's absence from Black Science. So what has she been doing in 2009? Why, trying to restart her singing career, of course! When we meet her early in Bad Company, she's about to kill herself, partly over the fact that her own mother, the narcissistic cult guru Drusilla Becket, destroyed her career over a forbidden lesbian fling. For Charlie, success is the best revenge.
Here's the elements I'm working with now. First, there's our heroine, Charlie. Her younger sister Desiree, an equal player in Bad Company when they had to work together to free themselves from their mother and warn the world about Dictel Corporation's most dastardly plot yet, is absent; she's being preoccupied by Black Science, which takes place during roughly the same time span. I'm trying to make Dru's role bigger in Black Science, since she's pretty much the antithesis of her archnemesis Dr. Willa Richter-Thomas, Charlie and Desiree's aunt and fiercest protector. But Dru's also the villain of Dirty Pop, for, being the utterly narcissistic "Mommie Dearest" she is, she cannot bear seeing her daughter build a life of her own. And there's one more person getting between Charlie and Dru: Dru's late ex-husband Clayton Starr, a prominent villain in Bad Company, who abused both Charlie and Desiree to the point that they ended up using his home turf, the legal system, to drive him to suicide. Claytie helped destroy any chance of mother and daughter even liking each other ever again.
I already have four supporting characters on Charlie's side:
- Alex de Lacey, a.k.a. celebrity DJ Alex Plus, roughly inspired by Samantha Ronson and her onetime love affair with Lindsey Lohan. I originally developed this character for Spanner.
- Taylor Brinkman, decadent goth rocker; estranged daughter of Bad Company villain J. Walter Brinkman (Starr's successor as Dictel chief lawyer) and Black Science villain J. Marshall Brinkman II (see below). Another character from Spanner; she also introduces Desiree to the vampire subculture in Black Science.
- Ariel Shield, Taylor's younger sister (who takes her mother's family name) and something of a goth girl herself, but not vampire but witch. A major player in Spanner, she's the one with the "Da Vinci Code"-type obsession, even if Taylor was the one who got Rat Scabies to be godfather to her twins Leila and Robert.
- One character loosely based on Lady Gaga, or at least her stylism and admitted bisexuality.
- One character loosely based on Drew Barrymore, particularly as director (Barrymore just directed her first movie this year).
The approach: something on the order of a Japanese yuri light novel, which should be expected since I came originally from the otaku subculture in the 1990s, when I originally conceived Spanner, to which Dirty Pop is yet another prequel. But where the Japanese light novel (the counterpart to the American "young adult" novel) tends to be dialogue-heavy, I'm going to include a lot more action, since Dirty Pop is heavy on performances and confrontations. But the thing about the light novel is that it's supposed to be read fast, so Dirty Pop can't have all the complications and hidden connotations that, say, Bad Company and Black Science have. Bad Company has the form of a mystery novel in which the mystery is closed (i.e., we know who done it); there's no mystery whatsoever in Dirty Pop, which is the story of Charlie's quest for redemption. I'm combining my modified "light novel" approach with the cliffhanger method of the old serial movies, with which I was obsessed when I was a kid; judging from recent series on TV, both in Japan and America, it seems to blend well with the kind of insanely complicated plot I'm already weaving. The actual style will be more MTV than manga. Considering the potential sexual content, this book will likely not be for kids, though I'll be less explicit than in the heavier thrillers.
So I'm already getting a rough idea of the novel, just from the characters. But unlike with Bad Company, I won't work out the plot till the last week of October. But I'll keep you updated.
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