Wow. This is a surprise. Since I started late last night, I’ve managed to do over 6000 words (the first two chapters) of Empire of Dirt. I’ve spent the last two days trying to find the right kind of music for it, and I seem to have struck gold.
Warren Ellis posted about this awesome album of instrumental tracks from Nicholas Szczepanik. It perfectly evoked the sense of an abandoned city centre, and brought back to life some of the ideas I had last night.
I was trying to remember what it was like when we had the riots last summer, but I wanted more of a dream-like quality for the early descriptions of city centre chaos, evoking the protagonist’s feeling that none of this is entirely real.
People also keep reminding me of James Chadderton’s amazing pictures of post-apocalyptic Manchester. James remarks that his work isn’t a post-nuclear landscape, but one where the buildings have been left to rot. That’s very much the sense of the world my protagonist (she remains, for the moment, nameless) is wandering through.
I haven’t said in the book that the location is Manchester, as I’ve been trying to give myself a bit of freedom. I know the city centre well, but there’s something about not locating somewhere specific that gives everybody the chance to feel that it’s where they would be, rather than somewhere else, somewhere distant.
Meanwhile, I really need to come up with a name for my protagonist, but nothing has stuck. I suppose it’s because it makes her concrete. Given the nature of the story, it’s more than likely that she changes her name several times to protect herself, but so far nothing has come to mind that seems right. That might well be another thing to discuss with Daren, once he’s done tearing the actual writing apart.