Thursday, October 31, 2013

NaNoWriMo 2013: In Which I Shoot for Consecutive Victory #8

It's that time of the year. NaNoWriMo starts tomorrow. Since I've been offline most of the last month or two, one would figure I haven't bothered to come up with a novel to win with. Not true! Unlike last year, I've got a very strong idea of what to do.

It's called Freefall. It starts and ends with the first-person villain protagonist falling to his death off a skyscraper. The all-important Dramatic Question: how did Eddie van O get himself thrown off the top of a skyscraper? The answer involves ex-wife Kelly with whom he has a passionate love-hate relationship, a would-be restorer of the tyranny destroyed at the end of Spanner Book 5 name of Martin Becket, various Spanner special guest stars, Eddie's long career as a hitman turned secret policeman turned hitman, and a city population that refuses to act like idiots just because villains Martin Becket and Eddie van O assume they are by definition.

Freefall is a far more straightforward thriller than I've attempted so far, though it's plenty convoluted. I was getting bored by all the moralistic conventional thrillers featuring government connected heroes who are cops or something similar and battling evil terrorists and serial killers and other stock supervillains on that order. Well, I decided to go noir on the ANSI Standard Thriller establishment and pit the serial killer against the terrorist. And they both lose because their Author has vowed to avoid David Brin's definition of the Idiot Plot. Roger Ebert coined the term to mean the all-too-common Hollywood plot that cannot progress unless the protagonists act like idiots. Brin's version is the one where all the bystanders act like idiots so the heroes can be heroic, also a standard Hollywood bad habit and one of the central conventions of the ANSI Standard Thriller, replicating the professional class's typically technocratic contempt for the working masses. And so we have our two stuck-up professionals, the professional killer and the professional mercenary, trying to bring back the good old days of Spanner's Conservative Revolution when the common people were required by law to be idiots, a requirement backed by brute force inflicted by professional thugs such as Eddie van O and Martin Becket. And the people have not forgotten. Specifically the people of Seattle, the city trashed by the Conservative Revolutionary terrorist Rev. Byron Scofield in Spanner Book 2, who takes over at the end of Chapter 23 (and Book 1) when Rev. Luke Everson of the infamous Fearsome Foursome and ultimately gets killed by — Eddie van O.

I'm taking a different approach to writing this time. Instead of using trusty old MS Word, I'm writing it in the heavy-duty text editor Vim in a wiki-derived text format called Markdown. Vim makes writing Markdown documents easy by allowing you to collapse and expand all the text contained under a heading. And to edit it I won't be using yWriter5; I'll stick with Vim and endure its considerable learning curve so I can tap its awesome power; and I suspect this will be the fastest edit job I've ever done.

Simultaneously, I'm doing the first preliminary work on an interactive fiction (text adventure) game called Dead City Radio, which is a prequel to Freefall containing many of the same characters and incorporating a "wide open sandbox" structure and multiple endings only one of which (called the "canon ending") leads into Freefall. And you can be sure I'll throw any ideas for Spanner I get this NaNo into their yWriter5 projects, the last three of which (for Books 3, 4, and 5) I'll have to create.

*takes deep breath* NaNo victory number eight, coming up! Here goes...


  1. Sounds like you are all inspired and fired up! I love that feeling :)

    It's Nov 1st here but I don't think I'll be able to really get any writing done till Nov 2nd has arrived, sadly. I hate having obligations other than NaNo on November 1st!

    1. Me, I manage to find time. ;)

      As for November 1 obligations, I've got some too. However, the important part part is not when we start but that we win. I'm just happy that I've got an idea crazy enough to take my mind off Spanner and propel me to the finish.

      And good luck to you too. :)