Tuesday, February 24, 2009

[apocalypse now] actually, a few chapters from now

Har Megiddon

All right, I’m in a bind. I’ve worked my way into a corner.

Help me please.

The first part of this tome was pretty straightforward. Written from 1996 to 2006, set in Russia and France, there’s a lot of what actually happened in there and the relationships were dead easy, so it almost wrote itself.

The tunnel under Har Megiddon - it does exist, truly.

The second was set mainly in France and then in Britain and it was almost all fiction, with my experiences up and down France thrown in and a hell of a lot of research on Paris and the area south of it. You should see the files I have on everything from what Galeries Lafayette and Au Printemps sell through to the Barbizon School.

The third book is the best written but it’s two books in one. I had the third part, set in Britain and that works well but that’s now finished and there are still seven chapters to write cold. The little band of survivors have now made it to the coast near Haifa, ordinary life in Britain having been made impossible by the government [all fiction, I know, I’m sorry] and they’re shacking up with the Druze on Har Carmel.

In lieu of actual knowledge of the Har Megiddon area, necessary for the apocalyptic ending where the troops amass, I’ve had to fill in with a falling out between the two main characters. The setting works – looking out over the Esdraelon Valley, the trees, the olives, the local culture – so that’s OK.

The problem is - how to get from there to the apocalypse and make it sound natural? The mechanism of this – you know, the cabals, the Thirteen in Europe and their arcane insanity leading to a recession, depression, the new feudalism, war, depopulation and then the apocalypse – that’s easy enough to do and people would accept it more in 2009 than in 2005.

Another thing – what does an apocalypse actually look like when it’s at home? When you’re really in that valley that night and the monster appears overhead to frighten the children, what does it actually look like? Tolkien doesn’t help here. Plus, that’s only half a page.

What plot can I put in, from the landing on the coast through to the Big Night, to fill in four chapters?


North Northwester said...

Apocalypse means revelation and I think it means revelation of all knowledge - knowledge of good and of evil [which is where the story started, back in the Garden], and where they derive from.

Knowing a little bit about your conservative moral stance, I think you might be tempted - or is it inspired? - to include some hint or adumbration of the evil that got the world into this mess.

So here's some salt and pepper to flavour your monster scenes. Evil comes about when we know the difference between right and wrong and we choose to do the latter.
The Beast isn't Free Will; but rather a consequence of mis-using it.

So if your devil is to be realistic - or feel it - perhaps in and amongst the teeth and the scales and the flames and tentacles that you finally choose to include, could you perhaps hint at wrongful choices made: proud parenthood becoming stifling possessiveness perhaps, or erotic love becoming obsession or micromanagement, or excessive patriotism leading to hatred for all outsiders...

Whatever the physiology of the devil, his power comes from little sins growing into big ones growing into civilizational and moral collapse.

So, prose-wide, its voice might indeed sound like a lion or a dragon's roar; but ones made up of little insults and curses like 'Sing just one more verse for Mummy before bed, clever boy,' or 'What are you thinking right now, darling?' or 'Lovely little town used to have here my friend - until they started moving in...

Sackerson said...

Sorry, James, haven't had the time/energy to read the novel, but from your synopsis and the site you seem to be (intending to be) heading for Revelations. Perhaps approach through military escalation and miscalculation - rising tension, a spark, tanks and helicopters, exchange of conventional missiles, use of a dirty bomb or battlefield nuclear warhead smuggled through the Egypt/Gaza tunnel (or another one previously undetected), and up it goes. Avoid having your witnesses see all, and show the confusion on all sides - military planners, news media, local gossip and misinformation. Reinterpret some features of St John's vision in the light of partial nuclear annihilation, radiation sickness, susceptibility to other more ordinary disease as immune systems weakened by nuclear contamination, also shortage of food, eating tainted meat etc. Maybe some of the strangest visions will be in the head of delirious sufferers? In other words, realize the prophecies without contradicting what we know of physical reality. E.g. a stray missile hits the Mount of Olives and many graves are blown open (leave Maxwell out!)

Perhaps these are silly ideas - see if they give you any better ones.

CherryPie said...

Some interesting ideas there!

James Higham said...

NNWer - that seems as good a definition as any.

Sackers - nor will you soon as it's so bloody long and still not finished. Thanks for the ideas. Maxwell - hmmm.

Cherie - and you'll give me some more, yes?

CherryPie said...

I actually thought Sackersons were quite good. I will read it again and see if my creative juices think of some other ideas!