Friday, August 1, 2014

Picking Up the Threads

Behind the Story of Threat Multiplication (Part 1)

Warning:  this post contains spoilers for Certain Hypothetical and Threat Multiplication (though hopefully not for future books in the series) and I recommend reading those books first.

Also be warned that this shows the ‘sausage-making’ aspect of writing, which some of you may not want to know about.

I began thinking about what I was going to write for Slowpocalypse book 2 as soon as I finished book 1.  Though the main threads of Certain Hypothetical had been tied up at the end, there were a number of smaller threads left dangling, and I started wondering where they might lead.

First I considered what the main characters would be doing after the end of the first book.  They were all adjusting to their world’s new normal and their new roles in it.  David would be learning the ropes in his new job, and Kat had a load of new responsibilities, and their parents would be busy helping everyone else adapt.  All of which would make for nice background, but none of which looked like a promising basis for a big, interesting story.

The one noteworthy thread I saw concerned Ken’s family.  While a lot of the relatives of the people living inside the FURC had been brought into the compound by the end of book 1 – and most of the rest were too far away to even think of getting to them – the Camerons were different.  Aside from being potentially significant characters, they were close enough to risk sending someone out to rescue them.

And obviously the person for that mission was Kat.  It wouldn’t be responsible for Ken, as chief of the Guards, to leave the FURC to go get his family, but he didn’t want them to try to make it on their own.  Of course he’d send his new lieutenant.  And he knew she was just about the best person for the job anyway.

I thought Kat taking on that task would be compelling enough to show, but I didn’t have any idea how it could possibly tie into whatever the main story would be.  So I assumed Kat’s rescuing the Camerons would make for an exciting little vignette at the beginning of the book, leading into the main story.

It looked like it was going to be up to the bad guys to get the ball rolling for that, so I considered what they would be up to following the events of Certain Hypothetical.

No one was sure whether Crystal had been a mole or a dupe.  But all she was interested in doing was trying to put her past behind her, forget she’d been working for the other side, and pretend she had a clean slate so she could keep living her life in the FURC.  That wasn’t going to precipitate any dramatic events (in and of itself) and any other undiscovered moles in the compound wouldn’t be doing much without someone else providing a plan.

After all, at the end of the first book, it certainly seemed as if the main bad guys had all been dealt with.  But there were three people who might be down, but not out.  Each of them had different reasons for pursuing an agenda that would cause a lot of trouble for our heroes, and each had plenty of motivation.  And none of those three enemies were really on the radar of the main characters, so our heroes wouldn’t see the storm coming.
Next:  Part 2 – Designs of the Enemy

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