This year I was unable to participate in NaNoWriMo because things were just a lot too hectic. It’s a shame, because I got so much out of the experience last year. Sure I got a bad cold, and then followed it up with the shingles, but I also got a pretty good book out of it that I’m still getting ready to publish. The main things standing in the way are finishing final edits (which includes tracking down a fictional car), and getting a cover that doesn’t suck.
Last year’s effort produced The Affix. For those who haven’t heard much about the book, I’ll introduce it now. The main character, Matt Kellogg, is about to embark on a three-day weekend during an unseasonably warm spell in early November, when a number of problems fall right in his lap. The biggest of these problems is a gem with a strange cut that was left in his keeping by his best friend. The stone bends probability into a pretzel, and keeps coming back to him with a persistence worse than his ex-girlfriend (another one of his problems). Plenty of people are after the gem, and as his friends are drawn into the mess it’s his job to keep them safe at all costs.
It’s a big help in NaNoWriMo when throwing plausibility out the window is not only convenient, but downright mandatory. The fun of writing The Affix was introducing increasingly twisted coincidences, and writing in a ton of villains. My goal was something along the lines of John Landis at his peak, when the collision of so many different bad guys would end up producing an entertaining train wreck. While the end of the book was nowhere near as epic as the final half hour of the Blues Brothers (because good gads, how could it be), I think I achieved my goal in terms of the sheer number of antagonists. Including every single group interested in the gem whether they’re strictly a bad guy or not, this is what I came up with:
- Alexandra “Lexi” Dulce, ghost hunter and website author
- Sean Kilraen, collector
- Carlos Sanchez, unstable drug kingpin
- “Professor” J. P. Wallace, a.k.a. the old fart
- Henry Bartlett, Kiwi art dealer and “finder”
- Felice Weatherby, data mining expert
- “The Russians”
- Jasmine Treager, femme fatale freelancer
- The Gable twins
- “Jeremiah”, psychotic lumberjack
- Toshiro, ninja
That’s right, I followed the NaNoWriMo code: When in doubt, add ninjas. Not all of the above stayed in the book for very long of course, and in some cases they didn’t even get a chance to appear. There’s murder and mayhem all around, with guns, grenades, squirrels, knives, crows, car crashes, anvils, and lightning. And at 75,000 words, it’s novel length but it’s a quick read.
I was going to post a lengthy excerpt, but it feels like too soon. Besides, it won’t be much longer before I have to get the parade blog started. There’s only one good excerpt to be had anyway, since after that point the action becomes so thick that any extended quote is incomprehensible without context.