Had another “tiny epiphany” yesterday on the book. Funny how these things come on you; I know I said I delegated the work of processing what I’d outlined so far to my subconscious, but I never dreamed it would start spitting things out so soon. Of course, it being the subconscious, it doesn’t spit out the next rail on the rain track in an orderly fashion, but spits out something later on in the plot – and yet, it’s…well, let me tell you what it is first.
So in a nutshell, what I’ve outlined so far before yesterday’s “reveal” is this. SPOILERS APLENTY if you’re reading this and the book as it’s written and don’t want to know this way what comes next. (Not that this site has more than five hits a day, mostly misdirects of people looking literally for things I’ve ironically used as titles like “I didn’t know I was pregnant.” Still, I decided some time ago that I would write this as if I had an audience of bazillions, just in case it turned out to be true some day.)
· Caroline getting a “consumer Alex,” degraded from the original, and realizing that “Alex” is dead, or at least her Alex, and that she has to move on in the grieving process.
· Caroline meeting Jay Blue and discovering that he, too, is one of the original testers. And yes, he knows Nick, though not where Nick is, because Nick has to be Assange-like in his locatability as ALF’s attacks on Alex Inc. increase.
· Caroline learns the details of Christopher’s deal and the immense and increasing wealth that is now his. And that, for reasons of his own (TBD), Christopher is now striking back directly at the hackers –the corporation is using the might and majesty (mostly the might) of the law against them, which is tough enough, but Christopher is screwing up credit ratings etc. I need to come up with real as opposed to Hollywood hacks – i.e. no magically emptied bank accounts, no bullshit CSI:Wherever stuff (“I used Visual Basic to enhance the shitty security footage to reveal the scrolly script name in the tattoo on her forearm!”).
· She comes to the “commitment point” for real when Jay asks her to hide him from (police? Private security? Shades of the Gizmodo guy who had the night visitors from Apple security when he revealed he had acquired a iPhone prototype). Ironically, it’s Caroline, Queen of the Alexes, who is above suspicion since she’s been so careful to leave no Alex-related traces, and therefore best suited to hide him. In for a penny, in for a pound, she figures, so she takes him in.
· (Threaded through this of course is Caroline’s growing sociability as she is woven and weft into the ALF culture, and the end of her loneliness.)
· Caroline’s decision to use her own not inconsiderable economic power to go to New York and find Christopher. It’s time to meet her Darth, see who is the master now, etc.
· Of course, the first person she finds isn’t Christopher, but Nick…
And that’s where I got to, and that’s where I filed this in the Churn-O-Matic to see what would come of it. Then yesterday I went to the movies to see ParaNorman, which was pretty good. But I almost didn’t go in – there were so many fat fat families loading up on popcorn and drinkosaurs and the kids were LOUD and I saw them all going into the theater and thought, you know Joseph Gordon-Levitt is really hot and Premium Rush starts ten minutes later, maybe I should see that instead… But I went in to see how bad it would be, and since it turned out I could get one of the “traffic” rows (where you can sit but which are wide enough to pass through) to myself in a good position, I sat down.
Of course there were previews galore, all for further animated or kiddie stuff. There was one for Jack Frost or something and of course the hero says why me and of course the wise wizard (Santa in this case) says “you’re special,” because to be the Chosen One is the essence of this kind of story – if you weren’t the Chosen One, why the fuck would anyone tell your story? And I thought, well, that’s because it works. People want to know the Chosen One. And suddenly I had this vision of a bunch of ALFers knocking on Caroline’s door, and she answers and she’s surprised to see them because something’s happened in an End of Act Two kind of way to cause her to draw back from them and they say, we need you, we’ve been doing something something but we can’t get any further without you. We’ve found the real Alex, and Alex is asking for you.
BAM! As Emeril would say. That one paragraph slice of story just POPPED OUT OF THE TOASTER , leaving me to figure out how the hell I get a toaster in the first place never mind the bread to go in it. Anyone who gives you some solemn, stentorian bullshit delivered in some Garrison Keillor voice about The Work and The Craft and how it all comes down to rigor and frowning and seriousness is LYING. This shit just happens sometimes. Yeah, of course you have to lay the groundwork but you can’t make it happen just by pushing out five pages a day. If I’d tried to sit here and force out a complete outline, I’m sure I would have come up with something, but nothing like what just happened. Sometimes you just have to let ‘er drift.