Thursday, January 20, 2005


Well, last night I finished my first read-through and tonight I took a red pen to the prologue.

I'm not tackling major revision issues this time through, just filling in the rough spots and fixing the typos and left-out words. Tonight I changed an "of" to "off", added an "of" and a "the" and made some minor grammar and syntax tweaks (eliminating a few needless words here, adding a clarifying phrase there).

The two most significant changes were determining one of the evil projects N'Vonecz headed up in the past and offering a suggestion of why there's a candle burning in the otherwise pitch-blackness of Hell.

In my rough draft I used BIAFRA as a placeholder for the project. I wasn't really sure what Biafra was, only that it brought to mind images of starving children with bloated stomachs. So I googled it tonight and read the Wikipedia entry on the civil war and humanitarian aid crisis. The suggestion in the prologue is that the disaster caused by NV and his team of 23 demons was enormous for a squad that size, but now every-other demon in Hell is trying to take credit for being there, which would severely reduce the ratio of demons to damage (statisticians, of course, are evil). A million dead is too much for 24 and could withstand a lot of coattail-riding.

So I googled other disasters: Bhopal (3,800 dead), Jonestown (900+ dead), Chernobyl (31 dead, 135,000 displaced). Right now I'm going with Bhopal. Jonestown is running a close second; Jim Jones is just too deja-vuey for my storyline, though. I have no doubt that should the novel be published the identity of NV's "control character" will be spoiled, but I don't have to necessarily make it obvious from page 1.

Turns out the purpose of the candle is to give the demons huddled around it their sanity so they can converse and provide the impetus for the story. Who knew? Otherwise it seems they'd be gibbering and wailing like the multitude of demons "off stage."

I also changed one demon's estimation of the Biafra/Bhopal disaster from "a thing of beauty" to "seriously wicked" - since both are true from their perspective I went with the one that would generate less hate mail. (I've considered naming someone in the book Pat Flobbertson to generate controversy, but there's ticking off Brother Pat and there's ticking off real people.) Plus, it makes it sound like the demon's from Boston (also evil).

I need to make sure there's one of those "all events depicted in this novel are fictitious" statements at the beginning of the book. I wouldn't want Union-Carbide trying to pawn their disaster off on the Devil.