Chapter Thirteen of SILVER BROWN is currently being tossed into the deep dark Twitterverse for the reading pleasure of the good people of Planet Earth (and maybe a few of the bad people too, as long as they promise not to bring their guns) at a rate of one page per day. In this chapter, an unseen character who has been mentioned several times in the narrative thus far formally introduces himself to the audience. I like to think of this guy as the cigar-chomping white rabbit who leads Florys MacNab down the rabbit hole. Or an earthier version of Indiana Jones. Take your pick. Named after a street I used to live on years ago. One of the streets depicted in the screen capture below, specifically. If you can guess which one it is on the first try, you don’t win shit.
Most of the books I read during the (first?) COVID-19 lockdown were textbooks. As in, non-fiction. Try not to hate me for that; I have always consumed a wide gamut of literature. Figured I should make the best of a bad situation, using the downtime to learn a few new skills. For the inevitable moments when I felt like banging my head against a brick wall, be it from writer’s block, the fate of nations or a particularly troublesome bug in some app I was building, it was Netflix to the rescue.
The other night I happened across some animated series from India (presented in the original Hindi with no dubbing whatsoever, which I appreciated) depicting the hypothetical wacky adventures of Ganesha as a boy. A kids’ show, obviously. But kids’ shows are (more often than not) the shit after a couple of bong rips, so I decided to check it out. At first I found Bal Ganesh endlessly fascinating. I was being offered a glimpse into what kind of Saturday morning cartoons I would’ve been watching had the Fates decreed I be born on a different continent. Subsequent episodes impressed upon me that this was exactly like one of those gawd-awful religious shows my cousins used to watch when they were kids (if you have never heard of Psalty the Singing Songbook, consider yourself blessed), only with a Hindu angle to it. Once it dawned on me that every episode of this series basically has the same plot, the fatal flaw in its premise became abundantly clear to me; a flash of insight which I immediately tweeted…
the hero has to have weaknesses in order to make for a compelling story. hence any cartoon where the main character is a god tends to lose its lustre after three episodes #amwriting #writerslife #netflixandchill #SaturdayThoughts #420blazeit #staylifted #Mmemberville
— X. Jupiter Hart (@x_jupiterhart) July 11, 2020
Chapters Eleven and Twelve of SILVER BROWN are presently being cast into the Twitterverse for the reading pleasure of the good people of Planet Earth. My normal shtick is to tweet these chapters at a rate of one page a day, but I think this time around I’ll do something a little bit different and only do that for Chapter Eleven. Twelve is an offshoot of Eleven, a by-product of the many countless rewrites Eleven underwent. It consists of only two pages, and reads more like an epilogue to Eleven than a chapter in its own right. So I might just tweet Twelve in its entirety in one fell swoop as a grand finale.
These are the first chapters in the book that are narrated by any character other than Florys MacNab. Both are written from the point of view of the story’s villains. To accentuate that point, the narrative styles of each of these chapters are a pronounced departure from Florys’ characteristic vernacular. Chapter Eleven is written in epistolary form, while Twelve has more of a stream-of-consciousness vibe to it. David Wong (a.k.a. Jason Pargin, the former editor of Cracked.com) used this technique to great effect in his comic horror masterpiece John Dies at the End, which featured nefarious entities from other dimensions that were introduced to the audience through excerpts from (fictional) textbooks. Some variant of that technique was bound to find its way into my own yarn.
Machinations of the SAAZMOL organization that were only casually alluded to in the earlier chapters are portrayed in all their eldritch unglory at this point in the story. There’s a remote chance these chapters might be high-octane nightmare fuel for some people, but I would opine they’re way less frightening than the current zeitgeist. Compared to the news headlines of any given day in 2020, these chapters are about as scary as the scariest episode of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic.