19.10.07

Can't Stomp The Signal.

That's the working title, anyway. It'll make more sense once I explain just what's going on in this year's novel. Behold, then, the master document which describe's this month's efforts, in full.

It all started out with a decision to combine Godzilla-style monsters with "The Secret of NIMH". The connection between super-radioactive lizards and super-intelligent rats is the idea that there are all these little things living inside the giant monster, controlling its actions, the same way a parasite can influence the behaviour of its host. Then, I realised that although "Watership Down" isn't nearly as creepy as NIMH, it's a far better book about life in an animal colony.

The next revelation was about the Godzilla mythology: According to the latest movies, Godzilla is actually the fusion of all the souls of those killed in war by the nation of Japan. Hence, the insatiable desire to destroy Tokyo. It's a bizarre concept, but it provided an important idea: what if this story was about a colony of ghosts, rather than super-intelligent rats?

Then, I shifted the story to a different section of the parasitic life cycle. A deer is infected by a tapeworm, it's eaten by a wolf, the tapeworm then matures and mates inside the wolf. Parasite eggs end up in wolf droppings on the grass, which are eventually eaten by deer. Godzilla (the wolf) might be cooler, but the reader can identify with Tokyo (the deer).

So how do the ghosts affect the monster's, and the city's behaviour? And why? Answering the second part is easy -- like in the movie's theory, the ghosts get absorbed into the giant monster. He's their gateway to the afterlife. The first part is trickier, but I finally settled on this: the electromagnetic spectrum. Easy for a giant monster to detect from a distance, and a good yardstick for the development of a city.

In other words, the more the city communicates (radio, TV, cellphones, Internet), the likelier it is to attract the great beast from the depths. Thus, you have ghosts haunting people and places (which is bad), trying to get them to communicate more (which is good), in order to destroy the city -- which is bad for the city, good for the ghosts, and most of the ghosts don't even realise what's going to happen. Hopefully, there are enough different motivations and perspectives in that setup to keep things interesting.

There you have it: my novel in a big, ugly nutshell. Still no characters, still no plot. There are lots of things I haven't considered in the slightest, which is just how it should be for NaNoWriMo. And now you know exactly what I'll be blathering about for the next forty days and nights.

By the way -- if anyone has a better idea for the title than a "Firefly/Serenity" reference, let me know, okay? Thanks!

2 comments:

Jayson said...

I seem to recall that parasite-line-of-thought last time you were up here... or, actually, the time you were here and we went for tea.

Whatever it ends up being, I'm sure it'll be wholly original.

Denton said...

Yeah, I've been stewing on this idea since 2006, actually. I think I was still going to write a story about the wolf and not the deer when last I saw you...

Actually, now that it's turned into a series of ghost stories, maybe I can base a chapter on "Ghost Riders In The Sky". Thanks for the inspiration! (See, this is why I love Nano. You just have to think of something, and it automatically becomes a good idea. Woo!)

About The Author

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Canadian explorer. Chemist by training, biologist by nature. Long-time supporter and participant in National Novel Writing Month. Known as "Aquadeo" in most Internet circles. Also known as "that guy with the pants" to people who have seen me in certain pants.