Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Ark Book 2.5: Goddess from the Machine

After gaining some killer advice at the Chicago Writing Workshop 2016, I cut up the first Ark novel, An Autumn Veil, into the first two Ark novels: A Flood of Silence (previously: A Steel Horizon) and An Autumn Veil.

Book 3, A Labyrinth of Smoke, is still in the works, and book 2 has been undergoing restructuring now that it's standing on its own two feet. I've also been working on book 2.5: Goddess from the Machine.

Though properly a spin-off of the larger Ark saga, GftM features a plot and characters with touch points to AFoS and AAV, especially its protagonist and one other major character. It provides a fleshed-out background story for ALoS. Beta readers have already expressed appreciation of the characters and plot.

GftM is different than anything I've written. Originally a character study of an important, tangential character from AAV, the histories of the characters of the original short quickly overtook the narrative, ultimately demanding a more mature treatment. One of the funnest parts has been the dramatically different setting - different from anything else in Ark or from anything else I've written: the steampunk-inspired, libertine dystopian Machine City. Most of Ark thus far has taken place in untamed wilderness and lofty places of government. Writing a story that never leaves the big city has been a welcome change.

As GftM unfolds, the protagonist struggles to build a life of her own without the protection and steady guidance of her oldest friend, a mysterious vagabond-turned-vigilante called "Kid." The plot chronicles the protagonist's shift from grudging subservient to the Machine City's ills as she herself turns to a form of vigilantism to bolster the hope of the city's downtrodden proletariat. Her ultimate fate has a profound impact on the main characters from the first three major novels.

This story is darker than the main Ark novels. The plot deals with human trafficking and slavery, sexual assault, and taking vengeance into our own hands. It is told through a series of flashbacks interspersed with the present in which lessons the protagonist learned from Kid come to bear on her circumstances.

Upon completion, I estimate GftM will reach 90-95k words in length. The present acts and chapters are:

Part I: Some Measure of Peace
1. Like Yesterday
2. All I'll Ever Ask
3. 212793
4. The Copperpot
5. She Wept
6. A Measure of Peace
Part II: Constellations
7. Marjolaine Street
8. For Your Trouble
9. A Wholly Different Place
10. She Slept Alone
11. For Your Eyes Only
12. I'll Wake Up
13. The Vigilant
14. To Live Free
15. Lies In The Stars
Part III: A Star-Strewn Girl
16. 'Til I Get Back
17. A Promising Student
18. Old Marxus
19. Decisions, Decisions
20. Beat-Up Things
21. Requisitions
22. Scarborough Cavern
23. It's All To Lose
24. Invitation
25. A Singular Pleasure
26. To Lose The War
27. Names
28. Turbulence



If you've been with me this long, you've got my thanks.



D