Tag Archives: John Palmer

Plug in and let it rip!

11 Nov

I’m really not planning on a long post tonight, folks!


Tonight was fun. I’ve been dreading my next step, where John meets the Big Boss of this underground cadre (remember, the mole clan? Remember all those bad jokes? I ran out of ’em – oh, except to say that they’re really a ragtag bunch of chemists who – like measuring things? See why I didn’t use that one?). Was it going to be one guy? A group? A collective consciousness entity, channeled into an AI unit for the best of all possible intelligence within the group? Nah, too easy. So I just plugged in and let it rip. It ends up being a sort of hologram, formed by a pool of luminescent water that forms itself into a swirling column, and the figure inside is a four-legged, four-armed, four-headed composite of a male and female human, and (supposedly) a male and female alien.

So I got that goin for me, which is nice.


I’ve Finally Broken Out of the Action Treadmill, or: Thank Thalia for Dick Jokes

8 Nov

I’m actually pretty happy with the fun little scene I finished tonight. John’s escape has finally settled, he’s hanging with the mole folk (they’re not really moles, they just have melanoma issues, it’s an unfortunate coincidence) – but they haven’t really accepted him until they can be sure he isn’t wired. And the highest level of tech they have for getting rid of imbedded electronics is – you guessed it – locally focused, high-voltage electric current.

I didn’t realize it until near the end, but it becomes a sort of “hazing” ritual, something he learns they’ve all had to go through, and now that he has, he’s – one of them? (Maybe they should look into any connection between topical electrocution and their dermatologic problems. (I’m just kidding about the moles. It’s actually Spanish, pronounced “molay” – their guerilla group was founded by rebel chefs from Oaxaca, Mexico.))

Does he want to be one of them? I don’t think he has a choice. He agrees with me on that.

But I had the most fun writing this mad-scientist character, a guy whose empathy gets trampled by the giddy thrill he gets out of playing with his science-y toys. A nice enough fella, but probably not who you’d enlist for an emergency appendectomy.

And, it all comes down to a dick joke. John, literally toasted, is being rolled out of the exam room by the Big Tough in a wheelbarrow. He finally gets a sympathetic smile from him with his complaint about how thorough the exam was, gesturing mid-section-wise, and Big Tough says John should be grateful he doesn’t have much area to cover.


But it’s a Buddy Moment. I think these two are going to find themselves working together. Who knows? I sure as hell don’t.

Behold! I am half minotaur, half man!

7 Nov

I don’t really have anything to write about tonight, but I came up with this joke earlier today and thought I’d open with it. I realize now that hardly describes what I have done here. My son was playing with some toy figures today and pulled out a bald eagle, proclaiming it a hipogriff. I immediately quipped, “It’s half-hipogriff, half eagle!” My dry, high-brow humor often goes unappreciated during playtime. Just like Bob Newhart.

My word count still suffers. I won’t go into details.

But did I tell you we’re selling our house? Yeah, we’re going to move across town, in between Thanksgiving and Christmas. We thought it wise to use that half-hour lull between the holidays, rather than some other time when we were too busy.

Oh and I’m sick. Coughing a lot, feeling tired, getting sore. Probably the hantavirus.

But the abuse to my M.C. continues! Since joining the mole clan (not really, that’s just plain silly. They’re a cabal.) he’s been introduced to a couple of tough characters, both of whom hate him, and one agitated geek who likes him – but is about to electrocute him, mildly. For security reasons, of course. John (my M.C.) isn’t crazy about this, but figures it’s preferable to being abandoned in the maze of tunnels with no light, food, or Walkman.

The hoops you have to jump through to make friends in the future! It is a sad state of affairs. I’m thinking these grumps haven’t updated their Facebook status in weeks.

Will John pass the “friendship exam”? Or die trying? Or just be put into a vegetative state? All these questions and less will be answered – tomorrow!

Wading through the bullet spew!

3 Nov

You heard right! John turned into an action hero today!

Okay, not strictly speaking. (How does one speak strictly about action heroes?) But he was swinging on a chain, lowering rapidly into a cavern below a warehouse floor, while guards shot insults and small pieces of lead at him.

And he escaped with nary a dent! Well, except for the broken ribs, sprained ankle, busted wrist, various contusions about the face and hands, and swollen eye. Other than that – hunky dory. Arnie would be proud.

Seriously, it did occur to me that I was doing a 180 (okay, 175) on my stalwart position of yesterday.

But it’s all in the name of art! I still feel this guy could be a real guy. I think it’s pretty unlikely one of the guards could have scored a solid hit on him, what with the distance and the swinging and all.

What’s less likely is that these tools are all still using powder-actuated firearms! What the heck, future dudes? I can’t keep my sci-fi hat on long enough, my pulp fiction hat keeps knocking it off. Or maybe it’s bigger, and covers it up. I dunno. Strained analogy, anyone?

So far John has escaped prison in a truck-tank, been shot at by rifles and pistols, busted the barricade at the city, crashed his tank, and disappeared into an abandoned warehouse district (complete with rust, crumbling brick, sagging/perforated corrugated roofs – everything except a foreman wearing bifocals and a pocket protector, reading a newspaper that says “TYPICAL HEADLINE FOR 1940’S NEWSPAPER”).

Where are the gravipedes? The ratchetrons? The Rocketeers? (dammit, pulp hat, I said No!) I’m worried that I can’t keep my story straight, and if I did have any future tech, John wouldn’t have a snowball’s chance in a fission reactor of escaping the mess he’s in.

“Worried”. Eh, that’s a heavy word. More like – “aware”. Yeah.

Hell, I’ll just add all the lasers in on my 2nd draft. That I type on my Remington Portab-Gaahh!

Oh, in case you’re wondering where I got my inspiration (and because pictures!), here’s a pic I took this summer, risking my life in an abandoned distillery.

This M.C. is one tough S.O.B.

2 Nov

Well, despite my best efforts, John Palmer is still alive.

He’s seen better days, believe me. If this were a Heinlein novel here would be the point where he’d start cussing me out for being a sadistic bastard.

But, John, you kinda deserve it, right? Remember? Remember Sharon?

That’s the hardest thing about this setup. In a drug-fueled rage (Back in NaNo 2010. Keep up!), John scared his ex-girlfriend so badly she fell to her death. It took John a long time to realize what he’d done, but now – well, it’s a lot to deal with.

Have you ever read a book where the M.C. has killed (or been the direct cause of death for) an innocent? Sharon was a good person. Yes, John was wigging, but that doesn’t excuse anything, right?

Is this a salvageable premise? At heart, John himself is a good person. And trying to become better. Trying to help the unfortunate souls still left in the prison.

But I haven’t forgiven him. He hasn’t done nearly enough penance. And he hasn’t accomplished shit, yet, in the way of being a contributing member of society. Mostly he’s managed to barely stay alive Despite The Odds, fumbling from one half-assed escape tactic to another.

This is what I (am finding that I) like about being a “pantser”. (You know, as opposed to a “plotter”. It has something to do with the seat of the pants. Probably that I need at least one steel-toed kick to them each day to start writing.) My guy is no hero, and I don’t expect anybody that ends up reading the book will be one, either. He gets lucky sometimes, and gets out of some serious scrapes by the skin of his teeth, but mostly he’s just a guy trying to make it. I hope there’s some appeal in there. I am so friggin bored of invincible heroes wading through the bullet-spew with nary a dent. I want to be thinking, “This fellow is gonna die. First he’s gonna get his ass kicked into flame-roasted tomato paste, and then he’s gonna die.”

Maybe I come out at the end thinking, “Hell, I coulda done that. Yeah, I got what it takes!” Maybe I come out thinking, “That guy totally died! And the M.C. that picked up after him totally died too! Whisky Tango Foxtrot!”

Not to say that I don’t want to enjoy the badass edge when it presents itself. Today’s writing was brought to you (me) by stuff like:

Massive Attack’s “Inertia Creeps”

NIN’s “Terrible Lie”

Rob Zombie’s “Living Dead Girl”

and This Guy:

Roy Batty, an inspiring figure in the anti-slavery movement of the future.

Until tomorrow, the kickass ninja pirate in me bows to the kickass ninja pirate in you!

Man, I am killing this thing

1 Nov

That’s the euphoria talking. Woohoo euphoria!

Seriously, I have either set myself up with an insurmountable premise (after insurmountable premise, after – you get it), or I am just traipsing that line enough to keep myself continually fed with the triumph of overcoming just enough adversity to feel like I’m a god damned genius after every other paragraph. (Now if I could just type three words without backspacing eight times. That’s the euphoria of speed + irreversible anal retentiveness.)

In 2010 NaNo I wrote (SPOILARIFIC paragraph ahoy!) a pulp sci-fi novel about a guy who gets wrongfully arrested, thrown into a secret prison/labor camp on Venus, and breaks out. Only he wasn’t wrongfully arrested, he’s a murderer who’s addicted to a drug that messed him up to much to realize it. And only he ain’t on Venus, but Earth. So when he breaks out, thinking he might die anyway (’cause of atmosphere and whatnot), he doesn’t die, simultaneously (what with the gradual clearing of his head from detox and the final revelation from the sadistic chief of security) realizing that, after fighting the injustice this whole time, he deserves to die.

Whew! Was that good for you? Yeah, me too. Here, take a pull.

So that was the end of my novel. As planned. Actually, him getting out would be the end. In a universe where I didn’t uncover all this insane shit about my M.C., the prison, the whole govcorp conspiracy to work people to death and keep them hooked on drugs. You know, the universe where I had no idea I was such a seat-of-the-pants writer, the one that NaNoWriMo unearthed. So – thanks a lot, NaNo! I finished my novel, only to find out I’d written half my novel. I only hope it’s half. This month I’ll probably uncover the secret that Euclidian geometry is a conspiracy to keep us all abiding by the laws of gravity, and now everybody can fly or something. Yeah I know that doesn’t make sense. Shut up.

So today I got to start writing a novel about a guy who has just broken out of prison, and is probably chased by literally everybody on the planet. A planet he’s never been to, and isn’t really all that cool with (what is three-point perspective to a guy who’s lived in a big friggin’ space hoola hoop all his life?). He’s doing alright so far (Are you team John? You better be. Oh, that’s my MC’s name. If you’re team Thacker – well, you’re alone, for one thing. Underdog, baby!). Any scene that benefits from a Skrillex soundtrack can’t be all that bad.

So John isn’t dead yet. Not exactly out of the woods yet, either. Don’t see that happening for the next – 48,000 words?

We’ll see if we can’t kill him off tomorrow.