Saturday, April 02, 2005

Two and a Half Steps Forward, Half a Step Back

As I get started to begin thinking about moving into full-rewrite mode, three things have come to me to improve the story.

1) Gantt's nightmare: In the draft, Gantt is half a day away from Graphite as the story opens. He has a nightmare where his doppelganger (his "demonized" self) reveals the town of Graphite to him. Now, with Gantt already in town when the action begins, the dream needs to change. So, now Gantt has the nightmare where his reflection in the mirror is out of sync with his body (I hate this nightmare). Usually the reflection is slightly behind, and when you realize something's wrong, that's when the "reflection" attacks. In Gantt's case, the reflection is a quarter second ahead and, far from wanting to attack the reflection, Gantt runs from it. Except that the doppelganger is a half step ahead of Gantt as he catches his reflection in mirrors, shop windows, etc. The purpose of the dream is to reveal (in the original it was fairly explicit, here it's more implied) that N'Vonecz is linked to Gantt. The implication here is that the doppelganger is leading Gantt, and even if Gantt tries to escape, the "other" is still in control.

2) When the zombies come to Ma Carter's boarding house, the lead zombie is her husband, Samuel. This is never explicitly stated, but will hopefully be conveyed by his string tie (mentioned in a photograph) and wedding band. To convey his identity through literary means, as he enters the bedroom he'll be stepping over "the threshhold," as husbands are wont to do.

3) Here's the half step forward, half step back: After Barbara Adams (formerly Brooke) is attacked, the boys in the bar "disappear" her attacker. She's told that he ran off while everyone was distracted getting her on her way to Pendleton, but it's pretty clear in the retelling of the story that that's not what happened. So ... dead accountant-type guy + zombie story = dead accountant guy comes back with a score to settle. Now in the rewrite it's clear that Gantt's tombstone rubbings are key to the reanimation of the corpses ... except accountant-type guy doesn't have a tombstone. So how's he come back? We know there's an empty grave in the cemetary (one of Ma Carter's sons didn't come back from Korea or Viet Nam), so the accountant could be buried there. Or he could be buried under the bar, which would mean Gantt would have to do a rubbing of the brass historical marker outside The Point to zombify him. Both are rather convoluted (hence the step back). Still thinking on this one.


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