Razor Mountain Development Journal #32

This is part of my ongoing series where I’m documenting the development of my serial novel, Razor Mountain. Be forewarned, there are spoilers ahead! You can start from the beginning here.

Last Time

I finished chapter summaries for 26, 27, and 28, as well as digging into God-Speaker’s “oracles” and their structural purposes in the story.

Chapter 29

Christopher awakes in his cell, on his bed. The lights are now dimmed. It’s warmer. The irritating noises are gone. He realizes that he has had a restful sleep, and savors the uncomfortable bed while trying to piece together what happened to him.

He vaguely remembers getting fed up and refusing to speak to Meadows any more. He delivered some sort of ultimatum, demanding to speak to Meadows’ superiors.

After some time, a woman in uniform arrives and enters his cell, bringing a chair to sit on. She shows some cool interest in his well-being, but he doesn’t trust her. She says that he has been deemed non-threatening, but that they still need to get as much information from him as they possibly can, and she has been tasked with doing it.

She takes him out of the cell and into Razor Mountain. They walk along streets lined with homes and businesses, all clearly inside caverns within the mountain. In some ways it seems like science fiction. In others, it all looks oddly outdated. He tries to ask about things, but she deflects, explaining that she has no authorization to tell him anything.

She leads him to a small but comfortable apartment, then sits him down and tells him that this is where he will probably live out the rest of his life. Then she asks him to explain everything to her all over again.

Cliffhangers:

  • Is he now trapped here forever?

Mysteries:

  • 29.1 – What is this city and who’s in charge here?

Episode Arc:

  • Despite being inhibited by days (weeks?) of torture, Christopher realizes that he has apparently stood up for himself, and it seems to have worked. However, his situation only seems to have improved incrementally. He’s still a prisoner of sorts. He wants to trust Gabby, but suspects that there’s some sort of “good cop, bad cop” going on here.

Notes:

  • I need to think about the layout of the parts of the Razor Mountain city that he sees.

Chapter 30

Christopher wraps up an interview session with Gabby, and they go on a little outing into the city. She asks him questions about what he’s told her, and she allows him to ask her a bit about the facilities (it’s not clear if she has gotten new orders or is exercising her own discretion).

He asks when the mountain was colonized. She gives the “party line” explanation – early in American history, but also notes that some people think the mountain was found this way, mysteriously, and construction dates much further back.

He asks what the people of Razor Mountain think the outside world is like. She relates the basics of the mythology that the mountain’s inhabitants have been indoctrinated with. He asks if anyone disbelieves, and she talks about recent and older mutinies. He asks her what she believes, and she demurs.

He asks if there’s any way for him to leave. She’s unequivocal that it’s very difficult to leave because of the clearances involved. The governance of Razor Mountain is outside normal constitutional constraints because of the supposed special secret amendments that have been made over the years.

She seems genuinely kind and curious, and Christopher wants to let his guard down, but he trusts nobody at this point. He feels jaded. She writes everything down in a little notebook.

Cliffhangers:

  • No.

Mysteries:

  • More of the same questions about Razor Mountain. It’s time to start resolving more mysteries than I’m adding.

Episode Arc:

  • Christopher senses an opportunity to start looking for ways out of this place. He also finds that he craves some kind of human contact, and he has to fight that because he distrusts Gabby.

Notes:

  • This is an opportunity to deliver some sneaky exposition about Razor Mountain from the inhabitant’s point of view.

Filling Plot Holes

I posted recently about the process of finding and filling plot holes, and I’ve been trying to preemptively do that in Razor Mountain as I go through the outline. As usual, I’m trying to get as many problems fixed in “pre-production” as I can, because I won’t have the opportunity to draft and revise when I’m releasing weekly episodes. I do really wonder if this will end up paying off in the long term…

One of the things I’ve done to mitigate plot holes is call out the mysteries set up in each chapter –– places where information is not available for characters and for the reader that would explain what’s going on. This ramps up the tension (hopefully), but I need to make sure they all get resolved.

For this project, since I’m outlining in detail and should have a good grasp of the plot before I start writing, my biggest risk is failing to properly explain something because I’m so used to it that I take it for granted. I’ve gone through the outline to look for plot points that I need to make sure I explain.

  • The people who disappear from the plane in the first chapter were supposed to be agents sent by Cain to bring Christopher to Razor Mountain, but they were planted by Reed, who wanted Christopher killed in a way that couldn’t be traced back to him.
  • The abandoned bunker by the lake and the burned bunker are the result of rebellions and breakdowns in the Razor Mountain hierarchy that have happened in God-Speaker’s absence. Patrols have been pulled back closer to the mountain.
  • The artifacts are revealed to be a crashed ship from beyond Earth. They contain many alien consciousnesses. The machinery of the ship provide certain powers to God-Speaker, and the consciousnesses provide a huge amount of knowledge. I’m inclined to be a little circumspect about this one.
  • Amaranth is responsible for most of the mysterious signs of life that Christopher encounters in the woods around the mountain.
  • The people of Razor Mountain have been fed a story that the city is a secret offshoot of the US military –– a backup in case of some apocalyptic event. They also believe that there is ongoing cold (and sometimes hot) war between US, Russia and China, so apocalypse is always a real possibility. Some residents have come to disbelieve parts of this narrative in the years since God-Speaker disappeared, including the exiles. People like Sgt. Meadows believe it fervently.

Results

I updated two more chapter summaries and looked for potential plot holes that might trip me up.

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