Brimmer and Death is growing close to completion. I’ve been through the narrative several times and in doing so have found several elements that continue to develop from connections aided by the editing medium, Storyspace.
Basically, Brimmer and Death is framed by common images and common places, but the premise of the story, fixed in the world where supernatural forces weave in and out of human space, provides lots of play for shaping those spaces. One of the elements that kept popping up is the notion of shelter. I wouldn’t call this a theme, but the “shelter” in the story, which is a real shelter–call it a bomb or fallout shelter–served to anchor narrative, gave a place to come back to when things went awry. And they went awry a lot.
In the beginning, I had no idea that Death would play a role in the story. The story began with Brimmer having a conversation. This conversation was abstract and meant nothing upon first writing. Here’s a guy named Brimmer and he’s having a conversation with some other and unknown voice. The voice asks Brimmer where he’s from. I remember clearly Brimmer responding with a snide answer: “You writing a book?” The conversation proceeded from there. But the snide answer was not the Brimmer who evolved.
Later, as the story developed, this conversation turned–luckily–into an interluding message. Brimmer has long life. On his journey and at some time in the future (it doesn’t matter when, which became another anchoring solution) he has a conversation with a random person. They trade small talk. Brimmer has been thinking about something. He’s asked the question, “Where are you from?” Now, let’s say Brimmer has been alive three hundred years, four hundred years. Suddenly this question will take on all kinds of importance to Brimmer as a fictional being to think about.
I have a pretty good idea what I would say. But what would Brimmer say?
Every writing medium has its own aesthetic problems and technical requirements that can be studied from their instances: film, comic, short story, poem. Brimmer and Death still needs sculpting, lexia to lexia, line by line. Every lexia has to punch. Every lexia should have the force of any good poem, but, unlike an individual poem, every lexia must fit within a larger structure.