Sitting on the train as it left Edinburgh Waverley en route to London to celebrate the birthday of the Love Of My Life, LOML. We had planned to visit a number of places, The Cabinet War Rooms, museums, have great meals, y’know, the kind of thing you do when in a city.
The ride is smooth, it’s fast and you can stare at the countryside, thinking about how beautiful it is as it glides past, take photographs of each station that you stop at as you travel on your way. It also allows you to mull over things, personal, whatever, just where your mind takes you.
Looking out, you see people going about their business. Cars travelling down a motorway. Where could they be going? What’s their story? Let’s make up a story… Time drifts by. Thinking.
A thread develops. Thinking about the Cabinet War Rooms, the war, the reasons for the war. The number of people who were killed, wounded, wounded psychologically. The heroes and heroines on all sides. Thinking about my next book, current title, ‘Kold Kronicles 3: Deliverance.’ What can I use as a driver? Well, there has to be conflict of some kind. The cause? How about religion? People have written about religion and wars.
I admit that history is full of wars of religion; but on this point we must be very careful; it is not the multiplicity of religions that produced these wars, but the spirit of intolerance animating the religion that believed itself to be dominant.
(Letter 83) Persian Letters, (Montesquieu)
So, use intolerance as the basis for the conflict rather than religion, but what kind of intolerance? Perhaps race? There again, what head of state would use race to push his own toxic agenda? I need to keep in mind that even though I’m writing fiction, it has to have some semblance of reality underpinning it. So that might have to be worked on a bit but the world I’m creating is now becoming toxic. Great!
Okay, let’s just stay with hate and intolerance. Why do people cling to hate so vehemently.
‘I imagine one of the reasons people cling to their hates so stubbornly is because they sense, once hate is gone, they will be forced to deal with pain.’ (James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time.)
Okay, that might be worth keeping in mind. Let’s develop it further. I need to work around that a bit.
So what I need is a faction that feels / is fed hate, wants a war and will use whatever they can to make an external enemy that is easy to identify. Okay, what do I mean by faction? Well this one works:
‘a number of citizens, whether amounting to a minority or majority of the whole, who are united and actuated by some common impulse of passion, or of interest, adverse to the rights of other citizens, or to the permanent and aggregate interests of the community’. (The Federalist Papers, James Madison)
‘adverse to the rights of other citizens…’ Works for me.
Right, now that’s sorted, what is the delivery system? I know, let’s weaponise the internet. That’ll work, after all it’s being used as a weapon already. Not fantasy then…
I now have my structure for the third Kold Kronicles. It’ll be about bad guys who comprise a faction that use hate and intolerance against those whom they consider different; utilising a weaponised internet; led by a bigot who appears to want a war.
What to call them? How about, ‘the Myrmidon.’ (A follower or subordinate of a powerful person, typically one who is unscrupulous or carries out orders unquestioningly.) Hitler had quite a few of them, as did / do other autocrats.
Yes, the bad guy’s followers shall be called the Myrmidon.
How’s that for fiction, eh? Donchajustloveit?
Train journeys can be so useful.
J J Mitchell
‘Never leave anyone behind’