Thursday, June 21, 2012

Spanner R4 Update: Chapter 1 Final Edit Completely Complete At Last! Chapter 2, Too

When I last thought Spanner Chapter 1 was complete, my muse thought otherwise; she added new stuff I had to throw in. So I fitted it in, and now I can finally declare with absolute certainty that Chapter 1 Revision 4 is finished! The great thing is, I didn't have much to add to Chapter 2, either.

The New Myth
Myths structure many stories, whether ancient pagan myths or medieval folktales. The new myth that structures Spanner is composite: Jack the Giant Killer (of Beanstalk fame) versus the Titans from Greek mythology. "Jack the Giant Killer" is the most common myth structuring especially left-wing political thrillers. One name the Corporates have been known by since the 19th century is "Titans of Industry", and the reference is specifically to the giant gods that warred against the Olympians. But now the Olympians are dead, slain by Jesus, so the Titans have no one to turn against except humanity. Prometheus is once again a traitor, because he gave the fire of the gods to humanity.

As for Jack, the central symbol of his myth here is not the familiar axe, but the horn from earlier versions with which he summoned his fellow villagers, who chopped down the beanstalk together to kill the Giant. Since Spanner defines both superheroism and terrorism as the substitution of individual heroism for mass action (that's the "conservative" part of "Conservative Revolution"), that means Shira, normally a trickster hero, must become a herald hero if she is to bring down the Becket dynasty's tyranny. She has to blow the horn, not just throw monkeywrenches.

The original structuring myth was the descent of Ishtar. (Neal Stephenson's cyberpunk classic Snow Crash is similarly structured around a composite myth: the descent of Ishtar into the Tower of Babel.) This is still the structuring myth of Shira's character arc. But it comes into play in Book 3, so I'm not concerned with it right now.

The Replacement Flashback
There was this short flashback that had no function but to get the Wrecking Krewe hackers to the abandoned dogfight pit where they would sacrifice their iPhones to Eris. It now forms a framing device for a longer flashback in which Willa, Hope, Karen, and the old hacker Wellspring (in that order) inform the assembled Krewe what they're up against, interspersed with quotes from major villains. Stylewise, I realized I could embed one of my custom blockquote-equivalent styles from the series stylesheet within another. Yes, CSS is that powerful.

The Vampire Hero (?)
Will Becket, the vampire super soldier who drank Osama bin Laden's blood, gets a new scene at the end of the Spanner Incident: he climbs out from beneath the rubble to the top and exults, "Spanner! I accept your Challenge!" Thus starts one of the series' longest plot threads. He starts out as a villain, but will he remain one? Only he can decide...

Other Edits
I corrected a few new continuity errors that sneaked in during the last "complete" final edit, and smoothed out the clunky appearances of the "Left-Handed League" theme. After that, I found nothing left to add, subtract, or correct. Chapter 1 is now complete.

Chapter 2
In the new Revision 4 scene at Game Wars, I wanted to add something new and add back something I had removed for word count. What I put back in was the logo that appears in every chapter between 2 and 15 until it reveals itself to be the face of a secret AI ally at the end of Chapter 15. The new detail was Shira taking off her shirt in an attempt to use the trope "I Have Boobs, You Must Obey" to distract the men rioting on the sidewalk. Her attempt fails, so she laughs at them and goes in the door. I may adjust the wording one final time; but other than that, I can't find anything else to fix. Chapter 2 is complete.

Chapter 3
I put a lot of work into this chapter, too. What is there left to fix? There may be a few opportunities to drop in a few continuity references to Chapters 1 and 2. Or it may already be complete. I'll know when I do one final reading tonight.

Next: Chapter 4 and Interlude 3
With the Fourth Revision now done up to Chapter 3, I turn my attention to Chapter 4 and its accompanying Interlude. They're still in a rough state: I dropped sections of the Script Frenzy script into the Chapter 4 HTML ebook page, and I put revision reminders before every scene of Interlude 3 except the first.

Chapter 4: Some of the scenes will remain more or less intact from the Third and even Second Revisions. My challenge is to fit the new scenes into something resembling an episode continuity. I'm also going to return to the Titan myth introduced in the final version of Chapter 1, and maybe add another hint of the Egyptian mythological theme also from Chapter 1 (though something different from the "ka" or spirit double that played a role in the Spanner Incident).

Interlude 3: Rebel's strategy against the IP Defenders: connect her bass guitar(s) to a sound cannon. Old otaku that I am, I'm dropping in otaky references to the two most famous left-handed female bassists in anime: Mio Akiyama from K-On! and Haruko Haruhara from FLCL. Also, I'm giving Leggett personal motivation for revenge. Revenge is always nastier when it's personal.

This means I'm ahead of my Panic Time editing goal this month. Now that the first three chapters are finished, it'll be no problem to finish Chapter 4 and Interlude 3 by next week. Maybe I should aim for Chapter 8? I think I will.

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