Thursday, January 5, 2012

Salvation Day

I recently realized that I've spoken a lot about the process of writing and editing and critiquing without actually describing my novels.  That's a bit like diagraming the intricacies of the play-action pass without running the play.  So I've decided to go into my precious babies.

Salvation Day is about temptation, anger, and the choices we make.  It asks questions of faith we've probably all had at some point, and those who are too wedded to their beliefs probably should put it down if they're afraid they'll go to Hell for even questioning God.

My main character, Mike Faulkner, wants to kill God.  Not in the way some might envision, such as abandoning his faith or trying to convince others that God isn't real.  No, he wants to confront the diety Himself and watch Him die.

Mike lost his eight-month old daughter to a childhood disease. His wife, consumed by grief, committed suicide shortly thereafter. Through a series of (seemingly) random encounters, Mike comes to find out that his wife's soul has been sent to Hell. This is the catalyst that pushes him over the edge.

As a brilliant theoretical mathematician on the verge of a breakthrough, Mike has discovered a new form of energy that can affect the bonds of reality.  He's approached by a demon from Hell's ruling council to use this energy to storm the gates of Heaven and try to kill the Almighty.   Mike surmises that with God out of the way, he can release his wife's soul, find their daughter, and impose the type of  justice he believes to be his right.

Salvation Day is a paranormal thriller that explores Mike's journey from temptation and corruption to a new understanding of the nature of immortality, It is specifically designed to call into question what we think about life and whether we could truly contemplate the unthinkable.

How in the world did I ever come up with the plot to a book that centers around someone wanting to kill God?  Well, it all starts with my daughter.

Rachel Gail Meyer was born on February 26, 2006. However, she wasn't supposed to be born until May 3rd, so she decided to show up ten weeks early.  Anyone who has had experience with preemies knows they have complications .  In Rachel's case, she developed a condition called NEC, which is where the gut bacteria goes haywire in the immature intestine.  It required bowel rest(ie - no food) and some surgery.  Since she had no food, she went on intravenous nutrition.

Such things are hard on the body and cause jaundice.  Jaundice in babies is fairly normal and should clear up quickly.  The problem is that Rachel's didn't, so they tested her for a condition called Biliary Atresia, which is where the bile ducts are blocked and the liver fails.  It usually leads to a liver transplant.

Fortunately, Rachel didn't have that condition.  However, when walking my dogs, something I do for 40-50 minutes a day, my mind started to wander.  I began to think of what would have happened if she hadn't made it through all of that.  How would it have affected me?  How would it have affected my wife?  I started having long conversations with God about why He would allow such things.

Being a total geek with an imagination, my brain started spinning out scenarios about what could have happened to anyone in that situation.  I also wondered whether that would cause a person to turn inward.

I'm an infantryman and my natural inclination is to be very aggressive and confront a problem in order to overcome it.  However, how does one overcome a problem like that?  I'm not a surgeon, nor can I magically grow new organs.  I knew I'd be pretty mad in such a situation, but at who?  God, that's who.

What good would it do?  Being mad at the Almighty would do little but drive me insane, and it's not like someone can go up and punch God in the mouth.  Then that inner geek in me started thinking, "Well, what could someone do if they wanted to directly confront God?"  What would it take?  Could anything satiate that anger, and what would such a confrontation look like?  Then I started wondering if the death of a child was enough to go all the way to wanting to take God out of the picture.  If not, what kinds of things could push someone who maybe figured out a way to confront God to try and go through with it?  Maybe his wife died...or better yet, maybe she committed suicide.  Don't most of the world's major religions teach that suicide is a real big sin and those who do that go to Hell?  How would the main character find that out?  That's where the idea for Satan came into play.

Maybe Satan could take advantage of this guy's misfortune and push him a little further.  The devil could show him his wife is undergoing brutal stuff in Hell and offer the main character a choice in getting her free, sort of a "I'll help you if you help me" kind of thing.

From there, the idea started to morph.  The only two scenes that stuck out visually in my head were the ones of the main character at his wife's funeral(Hey...maybe that should open the book!), and the demon army breaking through the barrier surrounding Heaven and storming inside.  I also started forming what the conversation would be like when the main character confronted God.  However, the rest had to be formed.

I played with it for a few years and found the hardest part was figuring out how to slowly build to what I needed.  That took some more brainstorming and a few re-writes, but I think I got there.  Figuring out how quickly to introduce the demons and how they pushed the guy over the edge took time as well since I wanted to get to them quickly, but I knew that wouldn't be as good a story(I may know what happens to get there, but the reader doesn't).

This is the basis of Salvation Day.  At 140,000 words, it's probably a bit long to be a debut novel, but I'll get it published after another takes off.  So I've stashed it in a drawer for the moment, ready for the day I can bring it back out.

Next post, Akeldama...

1 comment:

  1. You know that my faith is probably not going to allow me to enjoy this without guilt, but I do hope it gets published someday because it's very interesting sounding. Can't wait!