Thursday, December 24, 2009

Control and the City

The small town is notoriously oppressive. It is ruled by patriarchs (mayor, police chief, pastor, banker) and through gossip and rumor. In a world made up of small towns, most people live outside town, in the country; rural people are even more easily ruled, and have traditionally been owned by lords and kings. In both cases, monarchical and hierarchical control are made easy by the fact that the ruled masses have nowhere else to go; they know their place because they are stuck there, in one spot, forever. But the absolute power that the patriarchs have held over the past 10,000 years of agricultural civilization is threatened with destruction by the inherent democracy of the city. Thus, with the desperation of the dying, they inflict all kinds of control technologies on the city in order to abolish its chaos and impose onto it the oppressive stasis of the village. Hence surveillance cameras, tracking systems, mandatory ID systems, and so on and so forth. The purpose is to reduce the city to a small town that just happens to have a lot of people. But, as the fall of Communism shows, this is easier said than done. Enter Dictel Corporation.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

NaNoFiMo 2009: The Index Card Stage for Bad Company

After my first NaNoFiMo writing session last Sunday, I turned back to reading library books. I'm mining them for story ideas I can use. And I think I've got a whole bunch of good ones now. In this tweet, for instance, I announce: "The role of Keyser Soze will now be played by Blackwater." You read that right: instead of being merely the giant monster in the disaster movie of anticorporate political thrillers, Dictel is now playing the Satan of gang bosses in the form of an evil military corporation. Got it? There's more crazy ideas where that came from. And now I've finally collected enough new story ideas that I'm starting to feel that the plot of Bad Company will actually hang together. So now I'm ready to begin the long-delayed index card stage. The cards are ready.

Over the past two years since I started writing Bad Company for NaNoWriMo '07, I've built up quite a deck of index cards. I've used them to plot out scenes, apparently to no avail, since the plot still hasn't come together. Now I've started flipping through the deck, separating the useful ones from the ones I don't need anymore. Once I've removed the obsolete cards from the deck, I'll return to the AugNoWriMo '09 version of the BadCo file, match scenes with cards, and write new cards for scenes without cards. Then I can lay out my cards on the living room floor and figure out where the remaining plot holes are. Then I'll take my list of new story ideas, place them on their own deck of cards (written in a different color of ink), and then insert new cards with the new story ideas wherever they fit. And, of course, I'll use this stage to fill in the remaining plot holes.

The next step, of course, will be to start writing. But I can't start writing till I have an idea what to write. That's why I have to go through the index card stage.

Then I'll write those 30,000 words that will give me my first NaNoFiMo victory...

Sunday, December 20, 2009

NaNoFiMo 2009: The Update Update

I've been reading lots of books instead of writing during the week since my first NaNoFiMo writing session. Last night, I focused on gleaning story ideas from what I read, writing them down, and organizing them. I think I have all the story ideas I need to finish Bad Company now. The next thing to do is track down my pack of BadCo index cards and complete the set.

Yes, I will finish BadCo, write 30,000 words this month, and win FiMo for the first time ever. Now I need to get the index cards and the already written scenes organized, find the plot holes, and start writing. But first, I had to get sufficient story ideas from my readings. I might not use all of them.

Next: the story is now in the cards...

Friday, December 11, 2009

Dictel Corporation and the Holy Grail

Once again, I took my usual break after an intense NaNoWriMo (which is why I usually have to do Panic Time in the final week of any WriMo). When I started preparing for NaNoFiMo '09 at last, I did it by reading books that I thought would be important sources for Bad Company. Were they ever! On the side of realism, there's Welcome to the Urban Revolution: How Cities are Changing the World by Jeb Brugmann and Nation of Rebels: Why Counterculture Became Consumer Culture (Canadian name: The Rebel Sell: Why Culture Can't Be Jammed) by Joseph Heath and Andrew Potter. On the more mystical front, I found the notorious book by Otto Rahn called The Crusade Against the Grail, which is also redirecting me toward some books that have been languishing on my bookshelves. All are transforming the plot of Bad Company. I can feel the plot actually transforming into something coherent. And, considering the trouble I've had working the various plot threads of Bad Company into something coherent since I started writing it during NaNo '07, that's saying something.