I’ve been lazy. I admit. It’s been a few weeks since I’ve worked on the book now. Not just because of laziness but because life seems to somehow get in the way. I had all sorts of great thoughts about how to fix what’s wrong with the last three chapters or so…but they’ve evaporated now. I’ve planned time to work tomorrow, but being unable to remember what it was I was going to do has left me a little lost. It’s okay, I’m sure that once I get into it, things will occur to me. That’s the way it usually seems to go, at least.
In the meantime, I’ve been contemplating ideas that are important to the plot not just of this book but of the subsequent books so that I have a better idea of what I’m doing once I get back into the swing of things.
One of these things is growing my own bad guy.
This first book is largely “man vs. nature,” or in this case, “man vs. supernatural.” So there’s little need for an actual villain. There are creeps and jerks, to be sure, to add to the day-to-day drama and tension. But they’re little more than subplots and human touches to enhance the characters. They’re not the down-deep-in-the-bones villains. Annoying, to be sure. Making life more difficult, definitely. Just not necessarily “evil.”
And evil villains make for good stories.
This book is really the beginning. The story of survival, and of the bonding together of the core group who will lead a “rag-tag band of followers” (heh. Stealing Battlestar Galactica quote. Extra geek points for me!) out of the dangerous city into a just as dangerous suburban area in order to survive. If you don’t remember, or this is the first time reading about my plotline…here’s the basics. Otherworldly, heretofore mythical creatures break down modern existence, attack humans, and in general make life difficult.
If you’re living in a city situation, this gets even more complicated. If supplies are not forthcoming from the farmlands, how do you survive? The average city, according to statistics, only has on hand enough supplies for 3 days. Three. Days. That’s it. Sure, if you had a house you might have a yard to convert to a garden to live off of. But what do you do until then? Where would you even get seeds to plant? What would you do if you were in an apartment and others wanted to use the land as well? There wouldn’t be nearly enough “plantable” land to support one of the large apartment buildings…and then there’s the gangs and the newly turned vigilante police men who would have the weapons to take whatever you had from you. If the creatures didn’t get you or them first. There’s also then the question of fresh water (necessary!), sewage containment, and, well, the dead bodies to contend with.
So it becomes painfully obvious that our little group of survivors have to leave. And they know exactly where to go. But getting there…without much in the way of transportation (gasoline powered vehicles would be more than a little difficult at this point, and horses are almost unheard of in a city environment)…yeah. Imagine 30-40 people walking from the city out through the suburbs into the rural areas. An 1 hour drive turns into…well, a multiple-day (minimum) adventure.
Then there’s the creatures.
So book 2 is primarily dealing with the journey and the creatures. Got it.
Book 3 begins with them arriving in their “Utopia.” Yes, there’s more about the creatures, I am sure. They have to negotiate and begin to rebuild something resembling a normal life. It is, quite literally, a whole new world.
In the meantime, I am carefully cultivating a bad guy. Because I can. Life experiences have led me to believe that one of the worst feelings in the world is that of betrayal. So where better to find a bad guy than within their own fold? Someone trusted, someone counted as a friend. Someone who has baggage, someone who wants to be the leader, someone who wants to be worshipped and adored. Someone who wants all of the attention but is frequently outdone and overshadowed by others. Someone who makes a deal with the devil…
Or a devilish creature, at least.
Because the desire for power and adoration is unbearable, unquenchable. There are no reservations, no limitations. Of course, this includes the darkest aspects of magic.
Naturally, if the creatures are now real, the magic will be as well. And the Bad Guy will be the first to discover the new laws, and the first to exploit them.
So as they begin their journey from point A to point B, there will be problems besides basic survival and creature encounters. There will be backstabbing. There will be invoked complications. There will be personal attacks.
And it’s going to take a while before any of our heroes figure it out. Of course, I am sure the reader will have figured it out…and will be screaming at the book. This is one of my favorite parts. You know, its like yelling at the characters in a horror movie you’re watching on television NOT to go into the basement, but they ALWAYS go into the basement. You know it’s coming, it’s frustrating, but it’s part of the plot. If they don’t go into the basement, there’s not much point in continuing the story, is there? The problem is never confronted, the story isn’t finished, and they live happily but ignorantly ever after…or something.
If you’re looking for a heads up on this, Brownie is the voice of reason. One of the reasons I created her character was for clear vision. She sees people as theyare, not as they portray themselves to be. If Brownie don’t like them, they’re probably up to no good.
Of course, there are more than a few people Brownie doesn’t like. Which might give the revelation of the bad guy alittlesuspense, at least. After all…I want the reader to figure it out, but not too soon. In order for this to work well, the characters can’t be the only ones feeling betrayed. For best emotion, I feel the reader needs to feel betrayed as well. Not by the author…but by the character. To understand why the protagonists are hurt, to feel their pain as well.
So I get to grow my own bad guy. Slowly. Over the course of this first book, and a little through the second. I’m not quite sure exactly where I’ll begin to make it known who the bad guy is…and I wouldn’t want to give that away just yet, anyway.
I’m sure I’ll know when I get there.