Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Five Weeks Later...

Hi everybody!  I apologize that it's been so long since I did a blog update on here.  In addition to my daughter being on winter break from school for two weeks, my wife is now within two weeks of her due date for our baby boy, so we've been doing things like building a crib and installing an infant car seat, stocking up on diapers and wipes and things like that.  In addition to that, I didn't really have any news about Wandering City Blues or the Fogworld universe until now.

I'm happy to report that inspiration struck me like a bolt of lightning this past week.  Up until this point, I've had a vague idea about a sequel for WCB being a wartime book in the vein of The Thin Red Line mixed with the diplomacy of fantasy series like Lord of the Rings or Game of Thrones.  I like those ideas, but that's really not something I can sit and do for 80,000 words without any further plan.  Luckily, the other day I was sitting on my ass listening to the Blade Runner score (as you do) and four stories came to me (one biblical, two historical and one fictional) that inspired a major amount of the book.  But I'm getting ahead of myself.

The two stories I'd originally thought of for this book were loosely as follows:  One would follow several soldiers on the battlefield as they struggle to balance "fighting for the greater good" against killing other people when there are so few humans left alive.  Some would be low-ranking soldiers and some would be leaders of platoons.  This idea seemed good but not great and I wanted it to have some more pizzazz, which I was waiting for before I risked putting out a mediocre story (which is one of my greatest fears).  Fortunately it got a kick in the pants when I realized I could tie it into another story, which I'll get back to.

The second story I'd already thought of for the book was to follow someone (I won't say who, for spoiler purposes) during his/her time as a new diplomat or ambassador from one of the main colossi featured in Wandering City Blues like Proteus or Triton.  This character travels from titan to titan making high-stakes trades, bartering support for the war effort against supplies.  I can't say a whole lot more because most of this person's story depends on how WCB ended, but if you imagine Gandalf working to ally with Theoden of Rohan in The Two Towers or Khaleesi has to rally the Dathraki and grow her slave army throughout the Game of Thrones series, you're not far off.  This will tie in with the first story as our protagonists deal with difficult (and sometimes seemingly heartless) calculated risks and war strategizing around the globe, involving several civilizations.

So that brings us back to the new stuff that hit me last week.

For some reason, I thought of the biblical figure Judith of Bethulia and the historical figure Mata Hari.  They were two brilliant, fearless undercover women who used cunning and charm to change the course of history.  Judith posed as a harem girl for one of Nebuchadnezzar's officers and decapitated him, wheres Mata Hari posed as a dancer in order to steal classified information.  If you read Wandering City Blues, the female character I'd like to write would be an antagonist who is like a Joker to Iris's Batman.  I'd like her to slither and glide her way through allied theriopolises, wreaking havoc and causing unrest.

The fourth story would be inspired by the unfinished play Woyzeck and The Boston Massacre.  I imagine a husband of low social standing, nearing a nervous breakdown, pushed to his limits and leaving his house, erupting in violence literally in the middle of a theriopolis occupied by enemy forces.  The shit would hit the fan and it would tie into at least the first two stories I'd planned on telling (the soldiers and the diplomat).

I imagine I'll interweave the stories both in plot and sequencing, bouncing back and forth like Short Cuts or Magnolia.

Ok, so it's going to be a while before I get to properly writing, but now that I have a treatment of sorts, I can begin researching and working on outlines for each of the four stories I'm hoping to tell.  Welcome back, theriopolitans.

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