A week of Matt Kindt—REVOLVER—Begins!
First off, thanks to everyone at Vertigo for supporting my new book and letting me have this extra venue to talk about it. Over the next few days I’ll try to go into as much of the interesting details of my creative process as I can.
My process has subtly changed over the years and one of the biggest changes is how a book is born. For my early books I had to write a complete script and pencil the book before I could even think of getting it published. But with a few books under my belt it’s become a little easier. Now I work out a pitch outlining the basic plot and characters of the book and once I get the “greenlight” I start scripting and laying it out.
Below is my original pitch along with the two sketches I’d done to give an idea of the look and feel. When you get to the end of the pitch you’ll notice I don’t reveal the ending, and in truth, usually when I’m writing the pitch I’m not completely sure of the ending. When I wrote this I knew that Sam would have to make a choice at the end and initially I thought it would be the opposite of what he really ends up doing. But by the time I started scripting and laying it out I knew what he had to do. That’s part of the fun of writing—figuring out what happens but also letting things happen. And at the end of the day, as corny as it sounds, the character--Sam made up his mind—not me.
Stay tuned the next few days and I’ll walk you through the rest of the process.
Here the original pitch:
Sam watches the clock. He’s been trying to get to bed before midnight this week. He just can’t take the late nights like he used to. Almost thirty. He remembers his parents being thirty. He clicks off the TV and shuffles to his bedroom.
The next morning he wakes up and catches the bus into the city. Half way there, he realizes he forgot his camera at home. Then his migraine kicks in. He’s never going to get off the “Fun Around Town” photo beat for the paper. Not at this rate. He’s one step above intern.
This will be the best part of Sam’s day.
On the radio he hears that the stock market has crashed. All the computer safeguards failed and panic spread like a gasoline fire to the rest of the world markets.
As if that wasn’t enough, an epidemic of bird flu has erupted in Asia which pushes the news of “radioactive-material-gone-missing-in- Russia” to the background. Sam can feel his migraine start to kick in. He thinks about riding the bus the full loop and getting back off at his apartment and pretend this day hadn’t started. Sam plods forward however. One more Monday morning in a lifetime of Mondays.
By the time Sam’s bus stops in front of his office building, a confluence of disasters has taken place across the globe rendering his job not only moot but actually dangerous to return to. There is an explosion in the building next to his and a cloud of smoke and bodies come raining down in front of him in a shower of violence and gore.
Sam runs up into his building to see if Maria has made it in yet. She’s the one worker (a style editor) at the paper that he likes. She’s also is fiance. When he reaches the 9th floor, he sees his office in complete mayhem. People are rushing to leave. His co-worker, Paul, is running toward the elevators with two computers under his arms and panic in his eyes. Looting. Did Sam really wake up this morning? The world has gone crazy – turned on its head.
Sam can’t find Maria and will frantically call her for the next week trying to find her. In the meantime, Sam runs into his supervisor’s (Jan’s) office. Jan is frazzled and on the verge of breaking down. He helps her out of the office and down to the parking garage. It’s clear that any sense of order is lost and everyone is just trying to get home. Sam’s family is on the east coast so he’s got nowhere to go for the moment.
As they enter the parking lot, they are attacked by a man in a suit. He punches Jan in the face, breaking her nose. Then he
1jumps onto Sam – attempting to take their car? Sam isn’t sure as he struggles -- engaged in the first fight he’s ever been in. There’s something desperate about the man and Sam senses that he is truly fighting for his life. It’s desperate and ugly and in the end, Sam is just a little younger and a little stronger than the older man. Bloody and seething with adrenaline and rage, Sam punches the man in the face and his head into the concrete garage floor until his hands are covered in a spongy sticky mess.
Sam and Jan get into her car and drive in the crammed and chaotic city streets. The world is literally falling apart around them. They end up abandoning their car on the clogged streets and making their way by foot to Jan’s penthouse apartment. From their windows above the city they watch the sun set on a disintegrating city. Sam holds Jan next to him on the couch and they fall asleep to the sound of the TV news anchor talking about the “missing Russian radioactive material” exploding in Seattle.
Sam wakes up in his small studio apartment confused. It’s as if he woke up from a bad dream. He gets a shower and stares at his knuckles. The knuckles that had beat a man’s face to pulp. No scratches or bruises. Nothing. On the bus ride to work he listens to the radio. The world is fine. So far. He gets to work and talks to Jan in her office. Her nose isn’t broken from the punch to her face and she treats him as condescending as always. Maria pokes her head into his cubicle and asks him where he wants to go to lunch.
He sits in his cubicle and starts adding up his receipts from last week. As the “Fun Around Town” photographer his only expenses are usually gas and batteries for his camera. He hooks his camera up to the computer and starts downloading last weekends photos – shot after shot of beautiful young things partying and drinking and dancing and all happy for the chance at getting their drunk face in the paper.
Sam looks at his knuckles again, expecting the ache from the fight. He can still feel the man’s face caving in and his hands start to tremble.
Sam will eventually realize that he is living each day twice. Once in the world as he has always known it and once in a world where everything has crumbled – governments, cities and societies. He is aware of this split but is powerless to do anything but live in each world. His old world is wearing him down with the drudgery and inanity of his work. It’s crushing his soul with materialism and boredom. The other world is becoming increasingly dangerous with terrorists and natural disasters wreaking havoc. Sam is hating his boss in one world and teaming with her in the other to create a resistance movement. The Resistance will ultimately uncover evidence that many of the earth shattering events were actually part or a larger orchestrated plan. A plan they will end up fighting against.
Sam will battle with this dichotomy as his two lives wildly diverge and he remains the same person. He will take his extreme experiences from a world in chaos back to a world that is still oblivious. His “normal” world will become a jungle of personal drama as he struggles to maintain a relationship with a girlfriend that is alive in one world and either dead or missing in the other. Other complications will arise as he develops a relationship with his supervisor in the fallen world while in his normal world, his supervisor remains cold and distant.
Sam will struggle to realize what and who is truly important to him and ultimately have to choose which world he wants to live in. While on the surface the answer seems easy, which will he choose? A world of danger that is desperately in need of his help or a world of relative comfort but filled with friends and a lover that are sleepwalking through their lives?