Must… edit…

finishing up NaNoWriMo day 2, or maybe starting day 3 depending on how you want to look at it.  It didn’t look like I was going to get a chance to write at all then I managed to get almost two solid hours in.  5,488 words and I’m falling asleep at the keys.  Unfortunately, it is absolutely killing me to write without editing (not including spelling and minor-obvious grammar issues).  Anyone else have that issue? A nagging voice that keeps reminding you that you need to stop and review every few paragraphs?

Most of what I’ve posted online are partially edited and stripped versions (versions that get to the point and “skip the scenery”) of what I write offline (for many reasons).  For every hour I spend writing, I spend two editing and re-editing and re-re-editing.  Now with a word count target, I’ve promised to stick to writing and defer editing, re-editing, etc, until the end.

OCD is fighting me every word of the way and I’m pretty sure I will end up losing eventually.


NaNoWriMo Day 1

So, I managed to get about 4 to 4.5 hours worth of writing time in today which is pretty good I think.

Word count is at 3,745.

Considering that I did absolutely no prep work, I guess that’s pretty good.  I’ve figured out the main characters and the setting of the story but I have no idea where to go with it or what the point is yet lol I guess I’ll figure that out as I go.

As for the story itself, I used a combination of two random thoughts to build the setting.  Those thoughts go something along these lines:

(a) We hear about hero stories in the news every so often.

If someone just saved your life, what would you do for them? how would you repay them, or would you?

How would that be different from going back an hour in time and knowing that you were going to die and that this person was the only one in the entire world that could change your fate and save your life.  What would you offer them then? Most likely it would be 100x the reward you would offer after the fact.

If they knew they were going to be in the position of saving your life, would they stay on course? or would they turn and run? what if their life was in danger by saving yours? What if it was reversed, if you knew that you were the only one that could save a complete stranger, but your life would be in jeopardy too, would you still help? or avoid the situation altogether and leave them to their own fate?

Desperation and the will to survive are powerfully motivating forces.

(b) It’s amazing how easily influenced we are by other people’s opinions, especially those in the media. We all have thousands of preconceived notions about people, places and things that we have absolutely no firsthand knowledge of, because of stories we’ve heard or things we’ve been told, regardless of how credible the storyteller is (or isn’t).

maybe you haven’t had these exact thoughts, but I’m sure you’ve had something similar cross your mind:

I would never vacation in “country X” because people get abducted there all the time – even though I have no idea what the kidnapping statistics are or if there is any merit whatsoever to that statement.

I would never buy product A because it’s a rip off, product B is so much better – yet I’ve never used either and can’t even recall why I think that.  The product could be anything: a brand of beer or maybe a make of car.

I hate “celebrities X,Y & Z” because they are horrible people and are so mean to fans – even though I’ve never seen or met them in person and the only thing I’ve ever known about them came from an online blog.

instant, and mostly anonymous, forms of modern social media can amplify the problem tenfold.  I can pop on twitter and start a rant about how I saw a local politician out at a bar with someone other than their spouse, making out and getting nasty, and thousands of people will take that as a pure fact long before the person has a chance to defend themselves and disprove the allegations, making it virtually impossible to fully repair the damage done to their reputation.

I could also simply write that I heard celebrity A called celebrity B a _______  and more often than not, fans on both sides will start fighting and trashing the other celebrity in defense of their favorite.

What would you do if you were shunned by modern society because of false accusations?  How far would you go to prove your innocence? Or would you settle for revenge?


National Novel Writing Month for those that don’t already know.  Not sure why I entered this to be honest and I wasn’t going to even bother actually participating until this morning when I mysteriously decided to give it a shot.

So, November 1st is here and I have nothing, no story idea, plot, character, 1st word, etc.  I do however have a couple of hours of free time so lets see what happens.





The Center – Chapter 1

The Center – Chapter 1

December 21st, 2035.  My name is Sam Fillmore.   My story is as true as it is impossible.  I’m writing this journal as a record of the events that unfolded here at The Center over the last eight months.  I was stationed here, along with over thirty other people, as part of a psychological study meant to help improve the lives of workers in high stress and depression prone environments, or so we thought.  Now there are only nine of us left and two are isolated in separate rooms, quarantined.   It all seemed to happen so fast.

Of course there were signs.  We just didn’t want to see them.  It started with the headaches.  We should have seen it coming after Luke died, but it was too unbelievable.  We were all so focused on finding a logical explanation that we purposely avoided the truth until it was too late.  Now we’re trapped on the second underground level of this god forsaken place, surrounded by solid concrete with nothing to do but wait.  The soldiers are getting antsy, we all are, but they’re planning something.  I can see it in their body language.

I think they are going to ditch us and make a break for it.  Hell, they might even sacrifice us as a diversion.  I don’t blame them.  If I’m thinking about the possibility, I have to imagine that I would consider it if I were in their shoes also.  Maybe it’s only fair; they are probably the only ones with any hope of getting out of here alive.   If anyone here deserves to die, it has to be me.  I was so blind to the truth… but I guess that was why I was chosen, because I could be manipulated and kept in check easily enough.

The only thing we can do now to fix our mistakes is to prevent this from spreading.  I know what to do, I just don’t know if I have the nerve to do it.

Eight months earlier:

Life was supposed to get easier as I got older.  Instead, I am zeroing in on thirty-three and life is anything but peachy.  Turns out, I have some issues, specifically in the anger management department.  Personally, I don’t see it, but nevertheless I’m stuck doing weekly visits to a “therapist” for “mediation”.  I don’t know why, but I always get a good laugh out of how far people will go to avoid calling things what they really are these days; political correctness, the bane of my existence.

Doctor Phillip Sizemore is the shrink.  He’s a good guy and he seems genuine enough.  He doesn’t have much in the way of a sense of humor but that may just be his professionalism getting in the way.  Turns out that not only do I have rage issues, but I also use humor as an escape mechanism when dealing with… well, pretty much everything.  Doctor Phil, as I love to call him to his chagrin, has recently become quite famous, which makes visiting him bearable.  I think it is a sort of shameless, awesome-by-association feeling that of course is not warranted in any way.

So how did I end up here? Standing on the sidewalk, outside of a reputed psychiatrist’s office building, smoking a fake cigarette and pondering the meaning of my puny existence? Fate really did a number on me.  I used to get really frustrated with people whose lives tanked on them and yet they had no idea.  It always seemed like they were swimming in a sea of never-ending excuses.  I mean, there are always signs right?  It turns out that is not the only thing I was completely wrong about in life.

I have always been a tough, hard-working, physical laborer all my life.  You know, the meat and potatoes, tailgate party and extreme wrestling kind of guy.  People that went to psychologists and group therapy were a bunch of yuppies and wealthy whiners that could not handle a day of honest work, at least so I thought.

Three years ago, I was living the dream.  I was happily married to a gorgeous younger woman, driving my favorite truck and living in a great house.  I was still working at a factory, but I was next in line to become foreman and the current one was two years off of retirement.  I wanted to have kids.  Turns out, my wife wanted to move to Barbados and become a stripper.  Truthfully, I don’t actually know where she skipped out to, it just makes me feel better to believe that.

It took nearly a year of drunken debauchery before I got my act together enough to start shaving and showering regularly.  Surprisingly I was excelling at work.  I guess because it offered me a mental release and probably because I could not drink on the job with all the heavy machinery and whatnot.  On the year anniversary of being ditched, I received the official divorce, due to abandonment, papers and a phone call from my best friend, Dominic.

I was going to be offered the foreman job the next morning but I had to be at work by 6:00AM for the meeting.  Old Ferguson was retiring early, score for me.  Or so I thought.  Life can be overwhelmingly unpredictable and all it took was one cold snowy day to send the world toppling down on my face… again.  I could barely sleep because I was so excited, genuinely excited for the first time in a year.  I was up by 3:00AM and raring to go.

If only I would have looked outside.  Every year we are bombarded with messages from the doomsayers, soothsayers and self-appointed prophets claiming that global warming will be the death of us or that it is just another unavoidable phase in the circle of life.  I am not really a science-guy, but I know enough to realize that since I was a little kid, the snowfall in our area has been practically doubling every couple of years.

I took my time, showered, shaved, put on my nicest working clothes and brushed my teeth.  I was reveling in the glory that was to come in just two short hours.  I guess because work had become my life, I was getting an Olympic gold medal caliber feeling of acceptance and recognition.  What was it really? A few thousand more a year, better benefits and triple the workload combined with a guarantee of being the least liked person at the plant by the end of the year.  Still, I had nothing else going on for me at the time, so it felt great.

I headed outside at 4:00AM, even though it only took a half an hour to get to work on a busy day, to find that the entire street had been blanketed in almost two feet of snow.  I busted my ass shoveling the driveway and cleaning off the truck and even salted.  It was 4:45AM and the street was still not plowed.  My eighty-four year old neighbor, Miss Lively, was outside on her porch with a shovel.  She was a wicked old lady, but I couldn’t just leave her there.

So I headed over and offered to shovel for her.  She nodded and walked away without even a smile or “thank you”, as if she had no intention of ever shoveling and only stepped outside to remind me that she was old and I should help her.  I hated her, so I did a shit job and maybe that was the reason I slipped and fell, injuring my back.  It was at that moment that I became a big believer in karma.

It was after 5:00AM and the street was not any closer to getting plowed.  I figured my truck would be fine; it was in the commercials anyway, zipping around in the tundra.  So I head out and even though it is slippery, I managed to make it to the end of the street fairly easily.  All the sudden this little SUV with a plow mounted to the front comes skidding down the road towards me.

I floored the accelerator only the truck wouldn’t budge as the tire spun on some ice.  The SUV stopped barely an inch from my passenger side door and then boom, the tires caught and my truck raced forward, right into a stop sign.  Of course the SUV hightailed it away as if nothing happened, leaving me with an at-fault accident I would have to explain to my insurance company later.

I wasn’t going to let one bad morning ruin my special day.  After work, I would down a few beers to celebrate and this would all be a distant memory.  As I was reversing from the mangled sign, I could see my house in the rearview mirror.  An enormous limb from Miss Lively’s old, dead tree, the same one I had been begging her for months to have removed, snapped under the weight of the ice and snow and crashed onto my roof, smashing the eave and sending some shingles flying.

I won’t get into specifics about what I was shouting at that point, but needless to say, it would definitely fit the description of an anger management issue.  I left it alone; the promotion would pay for the repairs, and headed out to the highway.  Only, the highway was littered with stalled and stuck vehicles, making it treacherous and ridiculously slow to maneuver.  Finally when I hit a clear stretch, I was trapped behind a wall of four, very large salt trucks, clearing the way for me.

My blood was burning hot in my veins and heart was verging on exploding.  All I wanted to do was get to work on time and every possible barrier, from nature, to morals to stupidity, managed to get in my way.  Maybe I shouldn’t have helped Miss Lively.  Then again, maybe I should have done a good job and not spent fifteen minutes writhing on the ground in agony.

I had my house and truck to fix and both would require calling the insurance company and that meant deductibles and probably raised premiums.  My back was hurting bad, but unfortunately since the injury occurred outside of work, I wasn’t covered by either the government, or the company’s worker’s compensation plans, meaning I was due to lose some time at work and the pay that goes along with that time.

By the time I got to work, my nerves had been completely fried.  From the moment I stepped in the building my mouth ran at a hundred miles per hour, spewing obscenity laced, nonsensical gibberish.  When I finally made it to the meeting room, I blacked out just as I reached for the door handle.  I’ve been on sick leave ever since and the company insisted that I complete an anger management program before returning, if I did, they would keep the foreman position available for me.

Did I mention that all happened on the one-year anniversary of the day my wife up and left me without notice?

However, that was not going to be my legacy.  Life bottomed out on me and I managed to stay afloat, albeit with significant psychiatric assistance.  Doctor Phil told me that he was working on something huge and that he wanted me to be a part of it.  He said that if I succeeded, it would be beneficial for both of us.   That it could turn my life around and help me move forward, emotionally.

I didn’t really want to go to whatever dull, psychobabble seminar this would end up being, but seeing as how my day was going to otherwise consist of sitting around watching television and feeling guilty about putting on weight as I downed several beers with potato chips, I figured I would humor him and go.

The Center – Prologue

The Center – Prologue

Though the threat of global warming is omnipresent and fear of melting ice caps setting off a catastrophic chain of events, culminating in the destruction of life on earth, at least as we know it, there are those that welcome the changing climate with open arms.  Like an arms dealing selling to both sides of a bloody conflict, there are those that yearn for the chance to make a profit, even if means entire island paradises will be submerged in the process, taking countless men, women and children along with them.

Fear is a great motivator.  Most of us get our daily dosage in the news or from one of the many social media outlets.  Even though scientists from all over the world admit that it is impossible to gauge exactly what the results of global warming will be, if any, the fear mongering has been in full throttle for decades.  Now, more than twenty years after the Kyoto Protocol was scrapped in 2012, the developed world has yet to come to a clear consensus on how to effectively battle the phenomenon.

Will global warming eventually lead to another ice age? Or maybe widespread drought and famine from rising global temperatures?  Will the heating effect of the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere offset the drop in temperature from a stalled Thermohaline Circulation? Will entire islands be swallowed by the rising tides of the oceans?  Although Hollywood clearly has its own favorites for worst case and most likely scenarios, the truth is, no one really knows for sure.

What we do know, is that where there is pain and suffering, there is potential for profit. With the ice barriers around the arctic receding, the area has become the hot topic of the international community.  Not so much for the ever-expanding gap in the ozone layer, but because experts estimate that as much as a third of the world’s untapped oil supply lies in the deep recesses of the arctic region and with oil shortages plaguing the modern world, the race to seize control of the area has begun in earnest.

In 2020, dozens of corporations had set up surveying operations and temporary facilities to get a foothold on the area and a head start on the competition.  Only, by 2025, much of the melted ice had unexpectedly regenerated, dashing the hopes of the shareholders and executives alike.  Many a CEO was usurped over failed arctic endeavors.  It is now 2035 and once again, the ice is in recession and lineup of those willing to stake their fortunes and careers over the promise of untold riches, is no shorter than it had been before the disaster of 2025.

Most educated people believe that we need to take better care of our planet by reducing carbon emissions and pollution in all of its forms while eliminating our dependence on fossil fuels.  Oddly enough, those same educated people have very little to say when it comes to finding alternative sources of those same fossil fuels, when their own supply becomes limited.  Drilling and mining in the arctic, along with increased ship and vehicle traffic would surely do considerable damage to the now nearly pristine arctic environment.

New highways and train routes would be required as well as commercial airports to transport the riches back to mainland society.  New factories and refineries would be constructed and pollution of every kind would be introduced to the region.  Wildlife would become an expendable nuisance and relocating or employing the native populations would be a necessity to maintain peaceful working conditions.

The additional damage to the environment and wildlife may seem appalling at first… that is until there is not enough gas or fuel for people to get to work, heat their homes or run their barbecues.  Not to mention the fact that petroleum is required for the manufacturing of thousands of daily use items from toothbrushes to garbage bags.  Realistically, the machinery used to refine oil and those that manufacture items from petroleum, cannot function without petroleum.

The fear of losing every day conveniences trumps the desire for habitat preservation.  Besides, the money made from the new oil could fund several dozen new polar-themed zoos.  With the most likely alternative to secure oil reserves being war, the public support for arctic excavation is at an unprecedented majority.  Dozens of small towns are already being erected in the northern regions of competing countries in anticipation of the mass migration north.

The promise of hefty wages for workers willing to risk their lives in the rugged and unforgiving terrain seem almost too good to be true for those drudging along in a time of constant economic struggle; a time that has seen the middle class teeter on the verge of extinction. Severe drops in already freezing temperatures, powerful winds and tremendous storms plague the area and only intensify as the sea ice retreats.  The same boon that allows passage into the arctic is also the curse that makes it increasingly inhospitable.

Where most will fail is not due to the fragility of the human body, but of the mind.  Being hundreds, if not thousands, of miles from family as well as urban comforts and luxuries, in an eternally frigid and barren ecosystem that cycles between six months of constant sunlight and six months of perpetual night and twilight, can lead to a host of psychological issues ranging from stress disorders to depression to solipsism syndrome.

The Center was the promised solution to that problem.  A self-sustaining facility that offered not only the top of the line equipment and machinery, but also the essential creature comforts to allow people to live and function as capably and enjoyably as they would in any small town.  Doctor Phillip Sizemore, a renowned psychologist and mental health advocate was the one who developed the idea.

The Center started as a pipe dream for Doctor Sizemore. His idea had been rejected nearly twenty times before anyone actually offered the time to discuss its potential merit.  All it took was one willing ear to get the snowball rolling downhill.  Within six months, he and his new partners received a sizeable government grant and the backing of eight large corporations.  Two years after receiving the funds, phase one, the construction of the facility and installation of life support systems, was complete.

A giant concrete dome, built along the western coast of Baffin Island.  It would eventually become the envy of the world in the race to exploit the arctic’s riches.  Built to withstand both the most treacherous winds and all but the most powerful modern bombs and missiles, The Center would eventually be recreated several times, in strategic locations as bases of operations.

Billions of dollars of computer equipment, both for civilian purposes of surveying the region for reserves and deposits and military purposes with advanced sonar and radar systems, would be implemented in the final phase.  There would also be billions of dollars of defense systems such as surface to air missiles and communications jamming devices.  With a priceless supply of oil and natural gas embedded in the arctic seabed, it was almost inevitable that their procurement would turn violent, especially without significant deterrents in place.

Phase one dealt with the feasibility of constructing the facility.  Every step was assessed, from being able to transport the materials safely and economically, to the efficiency of installing the required electrical wiring and equipment.  A state of the art, albeit only a working prototype, of a miniature nuclear reactor was created specifically for The Center.  It could maintain power, even with all systems running at maximum capacity, for over a century.

The living quarters were designed to feel more like hotel rooms than jail cells and were loaded with as many modern-day conveniences as space would allow. It was imperative that the workers stationed there, be able to associate The Center with the comforts of home.  An enormous cafeteria was scrapped in favor of several small, differently themed eating areas. With the first phase a resounding success, the second was about to begin.

Doctor Sizemore was given the task of proving The Center’s superior ‘livability’, and how the increased mental health and comfort of the crew stationed there would increase productivity and reduce major liability issues such as depression-induced suicides and costly treatments for disorders.   If The Center could live up to its promise, with lower expenses and higher standards of living, the workers could be offered greater incentives and it would be easier to lure the highest quality staff.

Four months of sunlight, followed by four months of darkness, that was the timeline he was given.  Eight months and his brainchild would become a reality, vaulting him into the top twenty wealthiest people on the planet rankings.  He, along with thirty test subjects, ten military personnel, two cooks, two doctors, four nurses and his best friend and colleague would be stationed at The Center for the duration of the experiment.

All they had to do… was survive eight months.  They may have been successful too, if it was not for the meteor shower that proved too enticing to resist.  With the promise of never before seen minerals, a team sets out to track down a meteorite, only to return with more than they bargained for.

The Old is New

After taking a break from writing to pick up on some of my other hobbies, I’ve gotten the itch to get something done.  I’ve mostly been working on in-your-face, non-stop chaos type stories, which are fun to write, but I wanted to mix up the pace a little.  Yesterday I was looking through an old folder I had saved and found a story I had been working on from September 2009 to May 2010.  It was about 140,000 words in total but it was a jumbled mess so I split it into two.

Now, two+ years later I’m revisiting it and I’m keeping the same characters and general idea, but I’ve completely flipped the setting to the exact opposite.

It’s a slower paced story than I’m used to, but that’s part of the appeal at the moment as it makes room for more “actual writing”.  Of course, there will still be the sex and violence that everyone loves, just in smaller doses

The overview and prologue (neither are mandatory for the story to make sense) deal a lot with the environment, but the story itself does not.  It is just giving a glimpse of the state of the world and the reason behind The Center being built and why it is important.

The Center – Overview


The Center – Overview

The Center – Overview

Society’s over indulgence and careless squandering of our natural resources has pushed humanity to new limits to find and exploit oil, natural gas and precious metals deposits.  Multi-billion dollar corporations and their thousands of employees teeter on the brink of extinction without new sources of production.  Those governments without access to natural resources face massive civil unrest due to lost jobs, faltering economies and lack of fuel and energy for its citizens.

Those governments with access to natural resources face constant threats of espionage, theft and even all out war.   The fate of the average, every day person lies in the balance, left at the mercy of inept and corrupt officials and ruthless executives hell-bent on their own survival while maintaining their fortunes.

As the threat of global warming grows, the icecaps in the north recede, allowing greater and greater access into the vast expanse of the arctic.  The great promise of the abundant resources available under the massive floes has created a ‘gold rush’ type of push from all angles of the earth with everyone looking to cash in on the once inaccessible reserves.

Though actual drilling, mining and extraction are still many years away, companies have begun purchasing land around the coasts of bordering countries and setting up development projects in anticipation.  Unfortunately, greed and eagerness alone are not enough to conquer the perilous arctic.   Subzero temperatures, unrelenting wind and hailstorms, perpetual darkness throughout half of the year and a severe lack of ‘normal’ society create a significant and often insurmountable challenge for any operation.

Equipment and buildings come under constant attack from the relentless and inhospitable conditions and the mental states of workers often diminish to fragile at best.   That was how The Center was born.  It was a joint project between several large corporations, backed by government funding, meant to provide a sustainable base of operations.  Using funds from both the American and Canadian federal governments, an enormous dome, about half the size of a football stadium, was constructed on Baffin Island.

The Center, officially dubbed a research project, was the spawn of an amalgamation of several defense, power, construction, engineering and human resources firms.   It had to survive the harsh climate, provide uninterrupted power to large machinery, withstand potential sabotage and attack and house hundreds of workers in a psychologically friendly environment.  The weapons and defense system would be the third and final phase of the project, once it proved a viable operation.

Phase 1 is complete.  The shell of The Center has been built, the power systems installed and the living quarters are up and running.  Phase 2 is about to begin.


The Center