Wednesday, October 26, 2016

NaNoWriMo 2016: Introducing "The Amazon Triangle"!

cover designed and created by Lia Wayward

A few years ago, I was innocently laying in my bed, when into my brain popped a bizarre sequence that I immediately wrote down. It had no context; it had no ensuing events. It was intense, vivid, and I loved it, but I had nowhere to put it.

Some time later, I also started thinking about the film Sahara (the 2005 version starring Matthew McConaughey, although my absolute favorite character was Steve Zahn) and what an underrated film that was, and how hilarious it would be if somebody made an adventure film like that, that wasn't all about suggestive situations and stereotypical females and crude jokes—but actually an intriguing adventure that was imaginative fun for the whole family.

 
The first thing I knew for sure was the kind of characters I would have: two father/son couples: one British, one American, and then a mother/daughter pair where the mother is British but the daughter American. The second thing, since I essentially had 3 pairs of characters, was that the theme would be "Triangles," since I could take what amounted to 2 love triangles (British father once dated Mother; she dumped him, he became good friends with American father; fast forward to when all their kids are adults, and Mother's Daughter is now dating American's son—and none of them have any idea about how their families are connected) and throw them into a perilous situation in the middle of the most famous triangle in the world, the Bermuda Triangle. I went ahead and drummed up something that could pass for an intriguing yet impossible situation that would involve all of them working together to figure it out, and it was a nice idea, but still pretty skimpy and it would involve a LOT of VERY meticulous research, which I was not prepared to do at the time. Or ever. Or at least not till I could just like you know quit my full-time job and making a living with JUST my writing...

Anyhow, I plunked out some premise notes for the idea, shelved it, and promptly forgot about it.

Until this year.

By early this year, I was very sure of 2 things:

1. I wanted to somehow create a context for the Amazon scenes I had;
2. I was somehow going to use the Triangle idea to do it.

There was just one HUGE problem: the Amazon is thousands of miles away from the Bermuda Triangle. How in the world was I going to use both locations if they are so far apart that, even if the cruise were to crash or break down somehow, necessitating my main characters to escape in a raft together—they could choose LITERALLY ANYWHERE ELSE CLOSER??
Yeah... No way a cruise ship could be blown 2,000 MILES OFF COURSE!
Rationality says they'd hit Cuba before South America... but this isn't "The Cuban Triangle"!

Answer: Nothing a little time/space dimensional warp can't solve!

All of a sudden, that span of empty ocean between Bermuda and the Amazon becomes a swirling vortex of wibbly-wobbly because of an interdimensional crash sometime in the mid-1940s... 1943, to be precise. The very same moment that a platoon of Japanese naval soldiers were on their way up the coast of South America to try and launch an attack on the Eastern US. Dimensions collide, they get caught in the time warp, and have to repeat each day 100 times before it moves on to the next one. Everything naturally occurring in that space is reset and repeated: same fish swimming by, same birds flying over—the only thing that doesn't change is that one boat. They can't leave the time warp because of the dimensional crossover. Any attempt to cross the boundary just transports them to another point within that same area. The only point at which they can leave the water is the side that leads to the Amazon River—and even then, they can only set foot on land for a maximum of three night falls. On the fourth sundown, the time warp fluxes and they're back on the boat again, along with anything they managed to pick up in the 3 days. There were some ships that actually made it out of the warp and were picked up by Allied troops within those 3 days (unwittingly 2 years later, in 1945), and so they escaped the "reset" (also giving rise to the realization of the "Japanese Holdouts"), but that was it; four boats still remain out of the original seven.

So what does this dimensional crossover have to do with the Amazon mermaid idea? 

What do you suppose lived in that other dimension?

That's right; a Japanese scavenging party encounters a fearsome race of terribly tall women living in the jungle—and these women are also mermaids, acquiring silver-grey scales and tails when submerged in water. So when the cruise ship crashes and our dysfunctional main characters get caught in this dimensional trap themselves (via the Bermuda Triangle) they discover the mermaid Amazons AND have to avoid being captured by the Japanese (who still believe the world is at war, and they want to be able to use these powerful superhuman beings against the Allied armies) while they figure out how the dimensions got crossed in the first place, and how to fix it. Throw in the relationship tensions, and it's enough material for quite a thrill ride!

Also... For those of you who have enjoyed my NaNoWriMo "1K-A-Day" shares... there's going to be a small change with that. This time around, rather than just sharing bits from what I'm writing, I will also intersperse excerpts with posts about my writing experience. Where does it come from? What problems do I face in writing and developing a plot, and how do I overcome them? How does someone who works full-time find time to write in a given day, anyway? I'll be posting as frequently as I can here on the blog--And then when December comes, I'll start posting the whole thing on Wattpad so you can read it! If you don't know what Wattpad is, here's a helpful blog post about it. If you're interested in reading the stories I have on Wattpad (Including the EXCLUSIVE urban fantasy "The Water-Man") Here is a link to my profile on Wattpad. I will say that an account is free, and you don't necessarily have to be writing a story to have an account--there are thousands of writers on there, and we need readers, too!

Stay tuned for more fun! I look forward to sharing this journey (yet again!) with you all!