Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Something from the cupboard...

The following is the first draft of a work in progress. I know it sucks and needs an overhaul but that first drafts for ya...

1.

The limo was cooled to an icy 68 degrees. A laptop warmed his legs to a degree or two above that. On the screen there was a video window open on the visage of a rigid man. He awaited a response to the proceeding conversation, one he had facilitated the bugging of.
The old man’s eyes were shut and an index finger propped up his head as it rested on his temple. The younger man on the video conference could not see this of course. The video went one way yet the audio traveled both paths.
“Sir?”
“I am here Mr. Brody.” The younger soldier waited a few seconds longer without payoff.
“Was the message what you expected sir?”
“I expected more,” he said flatly.
On the video, the young man stiffened visibly with his Adam’s apple bobbing up to swallow fear. “Sir?”
“But…” the old man continued, “I do not fault you Mr. Brody. It’s my daughter that has chosen an oaf to marry.” The soldier could only visualize the contemptuous sneer on the old man’s face. “Bachelor party indeed.”
Brody waited in limbo without making so much as a gesture that would release any emotion…especially boredom or impatience. The old man was probably watching intently and his employer continued discourse in his own time.
“Mr. Brody? Do you have children?” The question seemed innocent and was even posed in the voice of an innocent yet Brody had seen things done to others in this service that defied his imagination. Innocence had no foothold here. Best to be straightforward with a simple answer.
“No, sir.”
“Why not?” With that, the conversation demanded a bit more thought than frankness. Brody hoped he would not disappoint. His breath was quick before he let loose.
“Life of a soldier is hazardous, milord. I would consider it a disservice to my family if I was killed. They would have nothing left to hang onto. From the other side of the grave, all I would be able to do would be pray for their further safety. I wouldn’t want that for anyone.”
“Your life more important than those with children, then?” the old man breathed.
“Absolutely not, milord!” The response was quick and nervous yet credible and genuine. The old man sensed that in his voice.
“Hmmm.” A cold and abrupt sound. And that somehow ended the topic of fiancées and childrearing. The conversation gained a deadlier edge becoming dagger-sharp. “Put that on ice for now. We have bigger fish to catch than the fisherman. Have you found anything regarding the Vegra’s whereabouts?”
The response held suspended in the Ethernet for a second too long. The soldier was still stunned by his employer’s close call with acting human. “Well, Mr. Brody? Answer me.”
“No sir. We are still researching every clue…”
At that, the old man clicked off the video conference and left Brody to ponder his fate. The thought almost brought a smile to his face. Old he may have been but his façade was that of a man in his early fifties. His dark hair beginning to grey above his ears, wrinkles just turning the tide in the battle against aging. They had landed on the beach yet there was a long way to go.
Here's the next 1100 page challenge...I've heard so many times that King takes too long to get going but even for this gigantic volume, I felt the beginning really soared from the get-go. Maybe I'm just used to King's style as I've been reading him for the last couple of decades. It surprises even me that I haven't picked this up until now (I've owned this book for 10 years at least). Everything in its own time though right?

It seems like the individual character intros in chapter three could've been written at completely different times as separate elements...just peeks into other lives. Character studies so to speak. Just wrap each one around a central theme like getting a phone call that demands to be answered. I cannot get my head around the possibility that was the way this chapter, if not other parts of the book, took form. If my speculation is off the mark, it still doesn't matter because I can attack my stories from the same stance.

That sums up the novel that I'm working on at the moment. Five stories that seem on the outset as separate accounts but they continue to build on a central story and the at the end, wrap around each other comfortably and satisfyingly. I hope to have a piece of that up here soon.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

"Scar Night"

I've finished reading this novel by Alan Campbell and found it absolutely riveting. I believe I read the last 200 pages yesterday but had to leave the very last forty or so until today as my eyes couldn't stay open any longer. Unprecedented for me by the way...
Campbell was a designer on the GTA series of video games and all of that violence and gore resonated through the pages of "Scar Night". What an amazing story! Angels, demons and ultra-violence are things that I strive for and are attracted to in my own stories. More like "drawn to by an innate sense of theatrics" but whatever.
Well done sir, and "Iron Angel" (the second book in the series) came out recently as well. I may even get the hardcover which I rarely do.