Once again, it took me until the middle of the month to really get started. No problem, really; I'll still win AugNoWriMo. After all, I won JulNoWriMo the same way, almost. But the key turned out to be, once again, a completely different story. It was the short story I want to submit to this year's AugNo Anthology. I wrote it in two hours and edited it in two hours on Monday (the 16th). Yeah, that did the trick.
Parts of Spanner then started coming to me again, starting with the first of the "Interludes" that I've been planning for Spanner since maybe 2000. These are short pieces that fit between chapters and feature alternate perspectives on the main storyline. The one in Chapter 1, called "Brown Note" (named after a certain urban legend that inspired a pop fiction trope), introduces those self-produced "Rebel Styles" child porn videos that drive men to madness, murder, and/or suicide.
Strangely enough, I've been desperately searching for new ideas to keep Spanner from going stale on me. This after 15 years of writing down story ideas in my Project Notebooks. Here's some ideas that I've decided to use:
One: At lest one alternate reality parallel to that of the story. The first one is destroyed in the Intro by a heroine (but which one? I already know, but I'm keeping that a mystery for now) whose sentient spaceship enters warp speed with a reality distortion field activated so as to put a rip into that reality and destroy it. The timeline then goes backwards, and then we find ourselves at the beginning of Chapter 1 and the events of the main plot.
Two: Interlude 1 introduces the "Rebel Styles" videos by showing their effects on certain men (some go mad, some are hardly affected) and having FBI agents, including Spanner's archenemy Diana Shockley (the main opponent from the first concept back in 1992), investigate the phenomenon in order to try to put a stop to it and its destabilizing effects.
Three: As early as Chapter 1 but certainly by Chapter 3, I'll introduce a novel series. I'll have a character drop the information that Shira is the great-granddaughter of the early 20th-century hero Doc Wilder, about whom a series of fictional adventures was written under the trademarked name "Doc Savage" (there's another one, in French and started five years earlier, called "Doc Ardan"). Shira, it seems, is has inspired a similar series of pulp adventures, written under the house byline "Wesley Dent", about a disturbingly sexy teenage thief who performs her amazing (sometimes outright bizarre) capers as the masked bandit "The Civet". Sometimes she wears only a mask... Anyway, the main author behind the "Wesley Dent" byline is one Keenan Arthur Sasser, protagonist of (so far) two of my short stories, and behind the "mask" of "Wesley Dent" he's undergoing some serious Creator Breakdown. The loss of freedom he suffered due to the 2012 coup and the rise of the Corporate Empire didn't help. So now he's stuck being a low-paid pulp fiction writer like, say, Lester Dent (creator of Doc Savage, who wrote under the Street & Smith house name "Kenneth Robeson") and Walter Gibson (who wrote The Shadow under the name "Maxwell Grant"). The fictional house name Wesley Dent is a homage.
Where Spanner does her thing in a cyberpunkish world closely resembling our own but ruled by giant corporations, the Civet carries out her capers in a retro-futuristic world that is an extrapolation from those of the 1930s pulp adventure magazines. The Civet's adventures are narrated by "Dent" in a stentorian style derived from the radio shows of that era. (One of those shows, Superman, I listened to religiously when a Seattle radio station reran it in the early 1980s.) The Stunning Revelation I'm saving till later in the series is that the adventures Keenan's writing are actually a version of the reality destroyed in the Intro, as seen through Keenan's dreams and modified by his ever-meddling editors.
This gives me the perfect opportunity to contrast Shira's catalyst heroism with the more traditional hero-against-the-world approach of her alternate version ("Dorinda Wilde" as a further altered trademark alteration of Shira's Incorporated name, Miranda Clayton-Wilder). What allows Shira to succeed where Dorinda fails? Putting fragments of the Civet pulp novels into the Interludes and (through quotes) text of Spanner allows me to contrast the two approaches. Some especially Stunning Revelations will come toward the end of the arc, when Keenan suffers severe and painful writer's block (like I myself did for who knows how many years) and goes into therapy with Shira's psychologist aunt Willa. But about those Stunning Revelations, I'm not telling.
Anyway, I now have the fuel to get me over the 10,000-word mark today and prepare myself for the upcoming Panic Time. More updates later...
Back to Spanner’s World...