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.
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.
Ripping pages out of SILVER BROWN and scattering them about these wretched social media networks has all in all been a valuable exercise, methinks. When I first showed the manuscript to friends and relatives, some would give me honest critiques. Mostly concerning easily correctable oversights. A particular deployment of punctuation that was too unorthodox for their taste. Important details that weren’t revealed early enough in the narrative. So-and-so didn’t respond like they expected in a particular scene. Things like that. But overall, their impression was always positive. I have yet to come across a beta reader who outright hated it.
Other reviewers were all smiles, raving about how great it was. I’m glad they enjoyed it, of course. Wouldn’t dream of taking that away from them. But the thing about positive vibes is that they’re like intellectual candy. The dopamine rush from that candy is certainly an upper, but it’s a fleeting buzz that ultimately doesn’t nourish. I need a big ol’ slab of protein every once in a while. The kind of cerebral amino acids obtained by piloting this yarn through a medium that is well known for having no shortage of critics.
I’m currently in the process of editing Act Two, which is a little more intensive with (hopefully plot-relevant) in-universe lore. To an extent that I’m starting to wonder if it warrants additional editing to Act One. A definitive answer to that query has yet to manifest itself. In the meantime, the first act as it is now is being offered as the main course in a literary barbecue. A research barbecue where I observe for myself which cuts of meat people find tasty and which they don’t, drinking in all that hearty broth from the people’s brainwaves. It’s been a damn good soup so far. If it was a literal soup instead of a figurative soup, it would have chickpeas in it and taste great with communion wafers and eye of newt. Can’t wait to see how that broth tastes when I start posting the chapters to come later that are actually weird…