Monday, October 28, 2013

Emergency Worldbuilding Part 1

Got's to be quick about this,
you never know who might be after you.
Maybe I should call this CRASH Worldbuilding.  I was looking back over my notes and stuff I've printed for ideas and I don't know if I can do this.  I've got a mood, a sort of vibe that I want to use, but there are some big gaping holes.  It's like listening to a phone conversation when the other person keeps going in and out.  You might get that they are frantic about something but the details are so sketchy that you can't do anything about it.

I can only hope that I crash through this window and get there to find that the few things I have in my pockets and my presence are enough to solve whatever problem it is that caller wanted to frantically tell me about.

I can't believe I've been thinking about some of these characters and this story concept for five years without putting them in a story!  You can't find the characters fleshed out, and the ideas I was banging around here.  I'm not going to use all of them or at least not all of them as they are depicted in that post.  I'll let you know how I change them in the next couple of posts when I get to the appropriate part of worldbuilding.

Ok, starting with Holly Lisle's requirements to start a novel:
  1. Know your world
  2. Know your characters
  3. Know your conflict
  4. Embrace a theme
  5. Determine a voice
  6. Know your genre
  7. Know your expectations
My answers to her:
  1. The world will be Chicago in the present.  However, it's not quite that simple.  
    1. I will be using Pattell University as the main setting and that's fictional.  
    2. I'll also be assuming a whole specific universe, one in which there are aliens and with the right application of mathematics humans can do things that appear to be magic.  
    3. Those two pieces need work
  2. Characters, I got's this.  Four big changes from my old 2008 post:
    1. Lucy LaBarbara - without spoilers let's just say that she is not a professor, and not an alien.  She is the leader of the cult and has access to a great deal of power and knowledge.
    2. Peter Nicostratus  (renamed Phillip O'Higgins)- not too old and not eyeless.  He is an anthropologist that specializes in Cryptotheology, or as he calls it Cryptolatrology (Greek for the study of hidden worship)
    3. I'm adding two characters: 
      1. Chitra Abberline: a private detective, formerly a Chicago Police Officer.  She was dismissed from the force after phychiatric care resulting from an incident which cause a mental breakdown.  She was the officer on the scene in which unspeakable acts were performed and "magic" was used.  She actually has no mental illiness but the scene was simply too much for her mind to handle.  She has learned how to handle the memory, but it came too late and her superiors were biased against her as a female officer.  She is physically active and fit, if rather plain looking and unimposing in size.  She is a capable investigator and 
      2. Ethan Gagnon: a cultist.  He is a student at Pattell University and started the cult.  He has access to certain relics and was able to work out some basic mathematical spells.  He believes the universe must be brought to an end and a new one raised in its place, but he believes this must be done from the energy generated by the suffering of sacrifices.  He led the cult until Lucy arrived.  He hates the loss of power and subverts the group whenever possible.  He does not and cannot understand reality to the extent Lucy does.
  3. My conflict will be the struggle for an ancient relic that may be a portal to unimaginable power, but also inconceivable reality that will stretch human mental and emotional capacity like trying to fill a water balloon with a fire hose.
  4. The theme is actually multifacited
    1. The universe is not only more complicated than we imagine, but more complicated than we can imagine, and trying to do so will cause a mind-BLOWING experience
    2. The eventual collapse of even the most powerful human, or more broadly, earthly conceits.  "Dust in the Wind" as it were.
    3. Horror doesn't have to be ugly, at least not to look at
  5. I will be using third person limited.  My powers of mathematics are far too feeble to assume anything more comprehensive.  My POV will be as if I'm a ghost in the head of the detective, or just over her shoulder.  Depending on how the writing goes I may also haunt Larry's shoulder (that was the original intent of the story).
  6. I'm shooting for a sort of gothic horror.  I've written this before with some success, so I feel most confident here.
  7. "'Do you expect me to talk?'  'No, Mr. Bond, I expect you to die.'""  I expect to win, to finish the book with a real ending.  With that in mind I'm going to throw in placeholders where needed for details and descriptions.  I may even write the thing like stepping stones, jumping from scene to scene, giving a brief synopsis of each, and when that's done going back and filling in as much as I can until the time runs out.  If you can imagine a pyramid laid out in perfect symetry so that the base is equal to the height, that was my last successful NaNo attempt, or at least the plan.  2/3rds of the way through I realized I'd never make it to the full height so I cut the angle and reached a peak, but far short of the originally intended height (I truncated the ending).  This time I intend to build like a skyscraper instead.  I'll build the frame and starting hanging the walls on it until the time runs out.  It will have the right height (ending) but need to be filled in.

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