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The Brainstorm That Became Counteract

One Sunday evening in November, 2010, Chase and I were online, brainstorming ideas for Counteract, and the words were flying back and forth so fast it felt like we were playing a tennis match. Here’s an excerpt from the conversation:

C: I think we should start with the government scientist announcing phase one
T: Like a top-secret memo? Then…after phase one goes into effect, we introduce our characters.
C: yesss
T: so the reader will see how the program has effected people. I mean, think about it…it would be pretty cool to be chill about everything and have (mostly) interesting hallucinations. But then, sometimes a person’s sadness or fear gets into the hallucinations, and you experience something else
C: ups and downs, yeah
T: Even though none of it’s real, it would be distressing. All your aspirations are put on hold each morning when you take your dose.
C: If they refuse to take the meds, they’d sober up, but not really know if they were sober or not
T: It would take a while to re-orient. Sober would be really different from what they now see as normal.
C: Yeah.
T: Would people be so distressed when they’re sober they decide to go back on the meds?
C: Yeah!!
T: But our main characters would both have a reason to try and stay sober. Ok—so do you want to keep writing as a team?
C: Yes.
T: Me too.
C: I think I’ll focus on Eduardo and the government
T: Ok so that leaves me Tommy and Careen.
C: Yeah. Good?
T: Yes. We can trade plates later.
C: Yeah!
T: So shall we do one short scene for each character?
C: Yes. Write now and regroup a little later. I’m going to get something to eat.
T: Meet back here later?
C: Yuss. Will email you when I’m done.

Those early sessions yielded ideas that morphed and changed as the book went through several drafts–and it was so much fun. I treasure the memories of that time working with such a bright student and friend.

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