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Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Roundup of JACOB fixes over last few weeks.

I haven't actually been doing them but I've been listing them, which is better than nothing. The subconcious is churning away, and I'll let it keep on going. Though, actually, I think most of the major problems are close to solve-ed...


I've got a kibbutz in JACOB but I don't know enough about them to know whether or not they are like the kibbutz I've got... actually the kibbutz ain't even in there, it is merely ALLUDED to, but I still don't know enough about them.
this is an easy fix, though . Just have it be a special Kibbutz, a business meant to teach and toughen spoiled American princes and princesses. Summer camp to turn a Jewish Paris Hilton into a Jewish Sarah Connor.
May as well have Jenny explain it to Jacob that way, too. Easy enough.

I just remembered... Have Jenny make unconcious gestures indicating she wants to get it on with Jake all the time... then, when she's trying to get the dad, have her use the same signals consciously.

Didn't want to forget that.

Now I'm thinking I should just weasel through the entire book. Do the absolute bare minimum necessary to get a working copy- this might be the best way, as well as the fastest way, to get JACOB done.

I get a lot of good ideas in the car in the morning. Okay.
Have Jenny go into the club towards the END of the show, when women are just throwing money. Jenny was a gymnast in college, she's used to heavily ripped guys- but there were a couple of guys at every tournament whose bodies seemed designed to make women, to make HER, go nuts. Jacob's like one of those guys.
She stares at him and then feels embrarassed- a shameful flush of heat makes her look at the floor, but then she looks again. Her eyes go on him, off, on, off.

She could not keep her eyes off him for more than a few seconds, but then she couldn't look at him for more than a few seconds before looking away in shame. "Put your fucking clothes on," she said under her breath.

Then she'll wait around while Jacob works the table, until she gets pissed and works the waiter- and then Jacob will:

a) tell her to fuck off- setting up the amphitheater
b) sit down with her before he tells her to fuck off.

advantage of b is that she can start to do all the body language stuff... But maybe she should just do it at the amphitheater...

Problem: Prologue SUCKS!
Use the voice recording only with the -click- -click- -click- action. (COULD ALSO MENTION THAT SALAHUDDIN'S PREFERRED METHOD OF KILLING PEOPLE IS IN ACTION HERE?)

Problem: Prologue doesn't jibe with later publishing date of JACOB.
Have JACOB be just one of many stories about the recovery of the horse pills.

Problem: Chapter 1 is waay too long.
Solution: I'm thinking I'm going to have Jacob working one table (he gets paid to have drinks with female customers after the show) and have Jenny waiting her turn at another table, and have one woman's time run out... and she'll take out a black pen and draw her number on Jacob's hand, and the woman at the next table with lick Jacob's hand with her tongue and use her hand to rub off the old number, and then write down her number atop it...

Problem: Chapter 2 The AMPHITEHATER has a lot of shitty writing.
Solution: Rewrite. Keep the protest.

Problem: Chapter 3... This one's okay, I think.

Problem: Chapter 4 The Deliver Man- I keep calling the deliver man "the delivery man," which sucks but.
Solution: Call him "Salahuddin." Find and Replace. DONE.

Problem: Chapter 5 The Message- Why kill off Rodney? Should Rodney be a CIA plant? (find out at the very end- and THAT'S why the CIA is covering Kestine's house? It is basically an aside?)

Problem Chapter 6: Why would Jenny tell Jake about the message? And how would they be able to crack the code?
Solution: DON'T have them break the code. It is enough that Kestine got a heavily encoded message from a suspicious source.

Problem Chapter 7: It is okay, but make it so Jake hates Arabs because of his experience in Pakistan, too?

1. Jenny should be raped in the boat. And she should tell Jacob about his mom being alive because of that. Cut out the entire love scene story. Jenny sacrifices herself to save us.
(More believable and less melodramatic)

2. Agghhh I can't remember. I HATE that. Oh yeah, the Gnome. There's a problem, about why Jenny should be trying to get Jacob to help her get into the prof's house. So could have Jenny's boss talking to The Gnome. The Gnome is one of the guys, or the group, that tries to do the dot connecting people talked so much about after 911. He/They have unlimited access to all documents the government has and he/they are the ones who found the Jacob/prof connection and suggested this way of getting into her computer.

This paring process is moving along. One by one I'm killing off a lot of the crappiest stuff... It would be good to make a list of the NEW JACOB. A list of chapters, which one's have been written, which have been written off, and kind of see where it is at.

So now I'm thinking I can get the same idea across better like so...

I'm thinking I'm going to have Jacob working one table (he gets paid to have drinks with female customers after the show) and have Jenny waiting her turn at another table, and have one woman's time run out... and she'll take out a black pen and draw her number on Jacob's hand, and the woman at the next table with lick Jacob's hand with her tongue and use her hand to rub off the old number, and then write down her number atop it...

Anyway, on to JACOB, on to part 3 of the ongoing saga- how to write novels and not get paid for shit for them.

Jacob should probably grad in like '98 so he's got some experience before he's sent to the CIA's contracted evil mentory dude. Shall I call him Biff? (Oh, the despair is palpable. Dig the starving artist despair of Harkonnendog y'all... taste of it, sniff it, roll around in it like a puppy rolls upon the corpse of a dead rat left on the lawn by the cat, REVEL IN IT!!!)

Okay, enough of that. (But wait, you ask, why the despair now instead of before? Well, I just found out that- of the 19 copies of CLOWN which have sold, thereby garnering me a full $74.00 in royalties, 10 were bought my mom... LOL!!! Oh 'tis a sweet bittery taste- in fact I would say it is much like Heinz catchup, in that all the flavors of the palate are there- that's actually a fascinating essay btw, on catchup. No, really. Anyway, thank you Mom, love you.)

So Jacob is what, 98 - 17= he was born in 81 I guess. May as well make him a Libra, so October. Okay dokey. So in pre-October ought-five he's 24 - yeah... maybe make him a year older, you can go to school late if you're an October plus baby- so he's 25. That's about right.

All this stuff is so elementary- none of this was necessary for CLOWN because Clown took the frame of my life. I really lacked discipline while I wrote the rough of JACOB... I was distracted by my then girlfriend/now wife. Anyway...

Okay, I had another scene in mind, involving evil mentor... or did I? If I did I don't remember. HiGlish!

He's supposed to be a college kid but he fought in Somalia? No way. Woke up this morning and that just popped into my head. So now I'm thinking forget the entire Somalia thing- he was loaned to the CIA by the Marines so that he could work under a Jordanian intelligence guy in Pakistan to find bin Laden... and he gets hurt- captured/killed/tortured, whatever, over near the Afghan Pakistan border. That way he can still be pretty young when this novel takes place...

Okay, why does Jake need to be a Marine at all then? Why can't he just join the CIA in the wake of 911??? Wouldn't that make more sense, in many ways... Hrm... Farg! Then he spends two years in Pakistan or whatever and comes back? I guess...

Okay, CIA, NSA, something A it is. No longer a Marine- or a SEAL, or whatever- straight from highschool into CIA... ???? WHAT?!?! THAT'S RETARDED! Okay... From Marine to CIA- makes sense actually. Jake graduates class of 2000, joins up. In wake of 911 CIA raids people who can help them- Jake is already in Marine intelligence 'cause he got tagged because of his looks, insane language skills, etc., and he gets put in an immersion program and sent to Pakistan to help the contractors the CIA has hired to make up for the lack of humint... so he's a marine on loan to the CIA who has him working under a Jordanian expat American in Afghanistan. Why a Jordanian? why not a Pakistani or Afghani? an Afghani- Either way it works. The main thing is one of the fattest pieces of cellulite has been cut. Thank God!

Okay, so how does Jake get hurt? Gotta be friendly fire because that would explain, in part, why he's so pissed.

BUT WAIT!!! He's supposed to do evil shit so that he hates America, remember? So now this entire fugging line of thought his blown. Asshole! What were you thinking???? WHAT THE FUCK YOU WASTED TWO HOURS ON THIS SHIT!!! That's what I get for acting on something I woke up thinking...

But wait... Maybe I don't need Jake to hate America because he did evil shit? WAIT!!! What if he does do evil shit? What if he helps to torture people- what if he gets caught up in his mentor's game and does a bunch of shit, evil shit, for the flag, and it all ends up being for nothing... or for Evil Mentor's money... then you've still got the redemption thing at the end- also you've got a better reason for him wanting to commit suicide at the end... This works. So SOMALIA's out, EVIL MENTOR IN PASHTUN LANDS is in. Okay...

And have the marines teaching him Arabic BEFORE 911... Islamist terrorism was happening before then so it makes sense. Okay...

And then amoral EM fixes him... wow. hmm. gotta take a crap I'll be back.

When I first got here I could not believe the dust, the squalor, the pain... I used to think Calvinists were assholes, you know? Calvinists think they were destined by God to lead good lives and that's why they were so blessed, and since God is just that meant they deserved to be blessed... But when you come to a place like Somalia you understand it.

How the fuck can you live with yourself when you see how much these people suffer. Not the assholes who cause the suffering- but the KIDS! This place is hell. So now I think Calvinists were just rationalizing, and I can hardly blame them. This place sucks.

Anyway, for the record, I arrived in Somalia weighing about 225 with, I'd guess, like six percent bodyfat. I mean I was ripped and very strong. I was a friggin' stallion ready to race. Three months later I weight 165- no joke, and I had about 0.1 percent bodyfat and I was addicted to Kafiyeh and I was functionally retarded. Well, retarded is going too far. But my brain really didn't work anymore. You see these starving Somalis running around with AKs and shooting them by sticking them around the corner or over their heads and you think they're cowards. But really, they're high and their brains don't have any sugar and they just- they're just STUPID. I know because that was me.

There are two kinds of MIOs. (Marine Intelligence Operatives). The first kind basically gets attached to a battallion and he helps plan attacks- spies out the locals- tries to find out who the enemy is and what they'll do- the kind of stuff that isn't even classified, you know. The second kind does shit like plan feints or use computer viruses to knock out missile detection radar sytem computers.

The third kind does spy shit. Now this third kind is a response to the CIA's decision to stop developing HUMINT resources in the late 80's. The Marines felt they needed HUMINT, especially given the new non-Cold War enemies. But they had little experience with it, so they went to the Israelis. The Israelis said no so the Marines went to a man names Ivan Romansky- yes, it is a made-up name- I'll never tell so don't ask.

Ivan was in his late thirties when I met him. He had no accent, but I don't believe he was an American. I don't believe he was any nationality. He got paid to do a job and he did it, and that was about it. What you need to understand about Ivan is that he was
1) 100% results oriented
2) he was a tech geek
3) he believed, with absolute conviction, that humans were robots.

3) is a BIG deal because it made him absolutely amoral. He thought the brain was a supercomputer- the body was a robot- (I'm really simplifying this because, as he explained many times, he considered the entire body to be a part of the computer- he thought a brain alone could not fuction- that it NEEDED a body to have self-awareness)- and that things like pain and love and hope and etc. were just software. The best software resulted in more replication.

So, take this to an extreme, and you understand that Ivan didn't think any more about shooting a person than a kid playing a video game thinks about shooting a video game construct. He didn't think of HIMSELF as anything more than video game construct, for that matter. But he did think he was better than everybody else in that he felt he was more self-aware of the fact that he WAS a video game construct.

Imagine you wrote a program that contained a character that was programmed to think it was self-aware. Okay, is it? No. It is programmed to think so. That's what Ivan thought of people. Now imagine that construct decides, one day, that it IS a program designed to be self-aware. NOW is it self-aware? Yeah. That's what Ivan thought of himself.

More important, Ivan wanted to learn
a) how to manipulate the code
b) in order to, eventually manipulate his own code
c) so that he could plug into the program that created the environment he lived and
d) manipulate that.

Okay, so Ivan wanted to become God. Or, a Wizard or something like that, at the least. And the Marines in Somalia hired him as a civilian contractor because Jordanians had used him with great results and recommended him.

Now, for all that- the weird thing is that Ivan liked me. I mean he was not immune to emotion, anymore than you are immune to liking your dog. And, in fact, he loved me and admired me the way a hunter would love a great pitbull. I was the equivalent of a champion pit fighting dog, to the kind of man who gets off on fighthing dogs, if you see what I mean. Besides, I made the guy a ton of money. And the more money he had, the more he could spend on finding different ways to manipulate people's codes.


Okay that's the end. Now I've got this character Ivan down. And I didn't before. I don't need to keep the Jordan stuff or the Marine intelligence stuff- but now I've FINALLY got a handle on Ivan, including a name (which, again, I don't need to keep).

The problems are
1. this isn't CLOWN and I can't just throw freewheeling exposition into JACOB
2. can't have the Marines contracting this guy STUPID
3. can't have them lending a Marine to him if they did STUPID

or... maybe I can do 2 and 3... I don't know.

But it makes more sense to make the guy a higher ranking dude in Marine intelligence, a Colonel or something, who has been like this all along but has hidden it until recently. Why isn't he hiding it, how does Jacob know about it? (Jacob needs to know about it for the reader to know because JACOB is written in 3rd person limited omniscience) Because Ivan has been getting high on his own supply, a little bit??? Hmm...

More problems:

4. how do introduce this? another flashback? JACOB has way too many already. Invade Jacob's dream- have Jacob explain it to Jenny?

Now THAT has some possibilities. What if Jacob is pissed because Ivan messed with his head? But then Ivan is the one that gets rid of his pain later, too... That could be cool, maybe. It is still just another flashback though.

I could do it part dream and part Jenny. Shit, THAT is probably the way to do it... Have Jacob just mention it to Jenny on the quad overlooking the protest, then have him dream about it after he fucks what's her name... This scene.


"This is a worm," Ivan said. "Dimethyltryptamine, aka DMT aka N,N-dimethyltryptamine."
"Crackers have been using this in South America for centuries. Good stuff."
"You want me to take it."
Jacob ate the pill.
"We've got a couple of minutes before it kicks in."
"What's it like?"
"Well, it isn't like kefiyah, or MDMA, or anything you've tried so far. This is soul-changing stuff. When you come out of it, odds are you'll think you had a mystical experience. You'll think you opened a portal into a different dimension and had a conversation with an intelligence that is the equivalent, brain-wattage wise, of you to an ant. But look, it WON'T BE REAL. When you first come back you'll think it was real, and you'll be angry with me for saying it isn't, but remember that I told you what you'll experience before you experienced it, okay?"
"A mystical experience?"
"Yeah. You'll think- the trademark of a mystical experience is NOT that you think you're seeing God, okay, it is that it seems MORE real than reality. I've done DMT quite a few times and when you're on it reality is more real. And real life, which this IS, don't be fooled, this IS real life, this IS an external reality, okay? But when you come off the DMT you will feel like this is a dream because the intensity of the DMT experience is so much more palpable than reality."
"What the fuck does this have to do with catching druglords, sir?"
"This is the stuff, Jacob. I pop the guy with DMT and when he comes off it- when he's in that window where he can pay attention to me but still remembers the DMT experience, I represent myself to him as a prophet and he'll tell me everything. Everything. Because the real world is no longer real to him, and because I'm the door to the real world. You understand? I use the MDMA, or acid, when I can't get this. MDMA is a firefly to DMT's lightning. The only thing is it is so strong it might fuck you up for life. I mean people have taken this and become mystics."
"Why do I have to take it?"
"Because I need to know the real reason you're here. I'm going to question you when you come off it. I'm going to make sure you're not here to entrap me. I gave you the MDMA because I wanted us to bond, and you seem okay. I feel like I can trust you. They used to give that to married couples in counseling. We got friendly quick right. But I've cracked my own code quite a bit lately, so I need to be more careful. " But Jacob wasn't listening anymore. His eyes were wide, his pupils were dialated.
"Oh my God," Jacob said.


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