Sunday, July 1, 2012

Spanner R4 Update: Foreshadowing in Chapter 4 (Plus: JulNoWriMo Begins)

Now that I'm done plotting Chapter 14, back to editing Chapter 4. Since this is the chapter right before the School Arc begins, I want to throw in a lot of foreshadowing, not just for the rest of Book 1, but the rest of the series as well, all the way to the end of Book 5. That means I'm going to have to put some extra thought into it.

First: the meeting at Mudlark House over, well, the School Arc. At least a bit of this is going to have to carry over after the School Arc ends in Chapter 21.

Second: the meeting at Drusilla's mansion to discuss the murder-by-courier of Dr. Thorwald, which introduces its head of research, Dr. Mina Tatsumi, and her two not-so-scientific assistants, Eri Ejimoto and Saya Saionji. Thorwald's bereaved wife Misty (daughter of Chief Shepherd Everson) and hitman son Oliver appear, and their future (and Everson's) is also at stake.

Third: Desiree and Ariel on the train after Desiree delivers the Gnostic manuscript to Ariel. This scene needs to be a lot more ominous in its implications, since both women have just placed themselves in the way of Dick Becket's will.

And others. There should be a sense of foreboding throughout the chapter.

As for JulNoWriMo 2012: my main Google Docs page for JulNo is right here. My plan for this year: write the Pretty City Arc that forms the midsection of Book 2. Details coming in future posts.

A new article that changes the Spanner premise a little bit more: "Death by Degrees" in n+1 Magazine. Liberals rage against the Corporate overclass? Conservatives rage against the cognitive overclass, and it turns out they're every bit as right as their liberal enemies! In Spanner's world, there are no more unions, only the professional guilds they tried to supplant. And professional guilds require as much training as imperial Chinese bureaucrats. The professional class is almost as reactionary as the managerial class, since the lords of the managerial class set up the modern professional guilds (including the American Bar Association and the American Medical Association) in reaction against the rising unions of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. At this writing, the unions are all but dead, and the only thriving ones act as if they were professional guilds.

The hallmark of a guild is exclusion. A guild is a secret society made up of experts, and its will is monopoly. The universities are the gatekeepers for the guilds, so they keep their tuitions high. Naturally, the managerial class is itself credentialed, with its own degree called the Master of Business Arts (MBA). Both elites intersect to the point where, after the Conservative Revolution, professionals are considered Corporate. An example among the major characters: Willa is too politically liberal for the Psychologists Guild headed by her ex-husband and archenemy Henry Becket not to purge her.

Another article shows exactly who's behind the Conservative Revolution in the first place: "Southern Values Revived", in Salon and Alternet. The credentialed elite the conservatives hate is Yankee in origin, upholds Puritan communitarian values, and centers on the Ivy League universities. The Corporate elite? They're increasingly Confederate neofeudalists. Even among the Corporates, you have your Northern and Southern factions, with the Southern one prevailing. Northern elites traditionally value community; Southern elites worship authority for its own sake. The two American elites have been in conflict since before the Revolution, and their conflict is the cause of the Civil War. Ayn Rand, ideologist of White Russia, it turns out, was the supreme Copperhead philosopher. Once the South wins at last, America will go into terminal decline, good for nothing but conquering the world, the right-wing Soviet Union. The Cascadian nationalists in Book 1 are racing to be the first to free themselves from the all-consuming corpse of Confederate-American world empire.

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