Friday, January 2, 2009

New Year's Update

I've been trying to work out the start of B3, putting in something reasonably big, to give the readers incentive to move forward.

I realized that although Life As We Knew It starts a little bit leisurely, by page 20 the world has come to an end. In the dead and the gone, the world is over by page 3 or 4.

But in B3, all those dramatics are done with. And while I'm confident I've thought of enough interesting action as the story progresses, I still wanted something fairly early on.

I called my friend Christy to discuss this with her, but it took her a while to figure out which B3 plot this was. I guess there've been enough to confuse anyone.

Finally I straightened her out, and we talked about the rain that I have the book starting with. First Christy thought the rain could allow things to grow, but I reminded her of those pesky volcanoes. She then suggested that the rain uncover something. She thought this might be a good thing. Christy likes happy stuff.

I like happy stuff also, but not necessarily when the entire world is in a state of collapse. But I did like the idea of the rain uncovering things.

So I came up with a scene where Miranda is out walking (easier to do now that the rain has washed away so much of the snow). She's doing a house search, looking for things that her family can use. She finds, tucked away, a box of rice pilaf (that's in tribute to people who feel I should have put more rice into LAWKI, and besides, those rice pilaf boxes are really small and could be easily overlooked). Excited by her triumph, she continues walking, and ends up at some kind of field where she sees a mound, previously covered by snow. Only it's a mound of dead people.

Whoo hoo. Nothing like a pile of corpses to make me happy. Miranda realizes that once the ground froze, bodies weren't buried; they were just piled up. She sees people she knows on the pile (I'm thinking maybe her nice high school principal, or possibly someone from her high school class- no one that needs a lot of introduction, since I'm trying to keep B3 as independent from LAWKI/d&g as possible).

I'm not sure if she sees Mrs. Nesbitt towards the bottom of the pile. I've been thinking that Miranda is haunted (not in a literal sense) by Mrs. Nesbitt, or more to the point, by thinking about how while Mrs. Nesbitt's dead body was lying on her bed, Miranda searched through her house for food. Now that Miranda isn't worrying about starving quite so much, the niceties of life are getting to her.

I also pictured a scene where Matt and Alex are playing chess, and we discover that they don't like each other. Matt could even warn Miranda not to get involved with Alex, that he wouldn't be good for her. This could increase Alex's importance to the story, which I like. There's an off chance that Alex will accompany Miranda and her family as they begin their journey westward (say to Pittsburgh, since Alex is planning to go to Ohio), but I can't see Alex leaving Julie at the convent and then returning to Miranda's home and lingering there, so that may not work. But I have weeks before I'll need to decide that.

Anyway, that's where things are right now. I'm feeling more comfortable about getting back to work on Monday. There's nothing like mounds of dead bodies to get my juices flowing!