Hello again. So, the pre-orders for the e-book version of Year Zero went up since last we spoke. I’m trying hard to not look at the sales data until official launch day. Wish me luck.
When last we spoke, I spoke about Joey. Today, we’re going to talk about the plot development and see where that takes us. It’ll be fun.
Originally the entire book was meant to be epistolatory, just Joey’s diary and nothing else. Kinda like the wonderful Meg Rosoff book, How I Live Now, which if you haven’t read you should. But, after you buy mine. Mostly kidding. Anyway, I had that pesky opening I talked about last time, which is clearly not a diary entry as it’s in the first person, present tense.
At this point, I’m thinking ‘okay, I’ll get Joey home, show a little of their life now and the rest will TOTALLY be epistolatory. But then I wrote some more. And there was so much stuff happening which Joey couldn’t possibly be aware of that I felt was essential for the reader to know. I didn’t fix it yet because I wanted to get through the draft. I figured I’d think on it while I got the story down, I could add more, and move things around, later. And did I ever move things around when I finally fixed it all. But that’s a story all by itself.
As I wrote more a pattern began to present itself. Sort of alternating Joey, Harlan chapters, with every day ending with a diary entry. Fun fact: I wrote all the diary entries at once. I moved a few things from one to the other by time I got to final draft, but they are pretty much exactly what I wrote. This is because I knew over how many days the story would take place.
I figured an inept, bureaucratic, but highly paranoid regime like the Corporation would stumble upon the truth of things in no more than a week. I mean, they are all probably Googling the crap out of each other trying to find dirt they can use to their advantage. Because The Corporation is a strange, and vague animal. This is by design. To keep the reader as unsteady about “the rules” as the characters are, because the true rules of The Corporation are whatever The Son standing in front of you says they are. The sole final arbitrator is Bobby Mallory, and he changes his mind weekly, if not daily.
I didn’t make it to the end before I started to change things. I was about three fourth through. First, I looked back and saw how far apart the diary entries were and decided to add some more information from other sources. This is where the news broadcast, and such came from. At about the same time, Joey politely informed me they weren’t the kind of person to leave someone to die if they could do anything about it. And, of course, they are right.
Yes, that is right. In the first draft, there was no man in the shed. Adding him resulted in a complete restructure of the novel which included making Doc and Fatima featured characters. This also had repercussion for Septimus, Harlan, and to a lesser degree, Cameron but I think we’ll get into that next time when we’ll talk about the antagonists of Year Zero.