This is it. Here we are, on the eve of National Novel Writing Month. Snap!
There is so much that’s at stake for this fairly unimposing and eager writer: fame, fortune…oh, well, not really. But I am diving headlong into this year’s NaNoWriMo with a fair bit of tenacity and pride. You see, this is the year that I’m going to write my first draft of The Flyer and the Base, the sequel to my post-apocalyptic novel that I drafted during last year’s NaNoWriMo.
As an aside, check out my second book cover idea for my original story, Stalder Press to Handstand, below. I’d love to get your feedback!
Tonight’s post features the bones of The Flyer and the Base. Thanks to Paula Munier and her two books, Writing with Quiet Hands and Plot Perfect, I was able to successfully outline my themes and create several air-tight unique selling propositions (or USPs) for this sequel. Without further ado, here are my thematic statements and USPs for The Flyer and the Base.
Themes for The Flyer and the Base
- Tell ‘em what you’re going to tell ’em
- Tell ‘em
- Tell ‘em what you’ve told ‘em”
Opening line: “On the third day without the Unseen, I walk up to the mirror in Josiah’s bathroom, run my hand over my rested face, and decide that I’m ready. How can I not be? My mom and sister are alive. I heard their voices so clearly on the radio that day.”
Closing line: “Under the dome-shaped veil of darkness, all three of us raise our eyes to the first big thundercloud that blooms across the sky and decide that, for the first time in a long while, there’s nothing to be afraid of.”
What is your story really about? The Flyer and the Base is about overcoming family dysfunction and learning how to heal in the wake of death and bereavement.
What am I trying to say? In this story, I’m trying to say that family strife both breaks us down and helps us learn how to build ourselves back up again. Rayland Mark Calderón is still reeling from the sudden death of his father, and while he is eager to reunite with his mom and sister, who are holding out in Temple, Texas, he is also wary of his mother’s extremely overprotective nature. Rayland also still harbors hard feelings against his sister, who was brash, cold, and demanding with him throughout his childhood. However, by the end of the story, Rayland will have learned much from his teammate, Josiah Knect, on forgiveness and finding the strength to love himself.
How is my story different from all the others on the same shelf? The Flyer and the Base is a post-apocalyptic tale in which horror, family secrets, and the struggles of gay unrequited love are blended together in a story that is at once gloomy and brought to life by the naive hope of young adulthood. There is a seamless mix of horror, action, and personal drama, with some supernatural elements layering the overarching story.
Why would readers choose to read this story instead of Bird Box? The Flyer and the Base focuses on the intersection of personal identity, familial ties, and the demise of a viable world, all of which are seen through the eyes of a young man who has lost his father and his sense of self-love. Helped by his former love interest and teammate, Josiah Knect, as well as a no-nonsense police officer named MarQui Richards, Rayland presses on against the threat of the Unseen, which use supersonic sound waves to attack and kill, in the hopes of reaching his mom and sister. Their journey will put all three main characters to the test, each plagued by their own nightmares and regrets. Six additional survivors will make the trip with them, both the Unseen and Reg Alteo bearing down on Rayland’s group with every passing mile. While still working through Rayland’s lingering feelings for Josiah, both he and Josiah have to take up arms against Reg, who won’t give up until he can destroy Rayland and his family.
“The Same, but Different”
- “Just like Josh Malerman’s Bird Box, only featuring two gay male protagonists.”
- “Just like Stephen King’s The Stand, only the enemies are cloud-like monsters, rather than an airborne illness.”
- “Just like Josh Malerman’s Bird Box, only grounded in the gender and sexuality issues of Dhalgren.”
- “Just like Stephen King’s The Stand, only with elements of gay romance.”
- “Just like Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, only grounded in the darkness of family strife and gay romantic tension.”
“X Meets Y = USP”
- Bird Box meets Dhalgren
- The Stand meets A Book of Tongues
- Bird Box meets A Density of Souls
“The only trouble is…”
- “A young triathlete living during the apocalypse finds out that his mom and sister are still alive. The only problem is, dozens of supernatural creatures and an unhinged man who aspires to be death incarnate are out to kill him and his group of survivors.”
- “A triathlete and his group of survivors discover that a military base full of soldiers and their families have successfully started to kill the Unseen. The only problem is, Rayland and his group must make a 167-mile journey across Texas to get there.”
- “A college student and his team are able to band together to take a stand against the monsters that have brought about the end of the world. The only problem is, Rayland and his friends are running out of supplies.”
- “A young triathlete surviving in the apocalypse has gotten in contact with his family. The only problem is, dozens of supersonic monsters and an unhinged man who sees himself as the second coming are hell bent on murdering him.”
The Theme Statement
Version 1: The Flyer and the Base is a post-apocalyptic thriller about a college triathlete and his teammate who have fended off supernatural sound-based monsters known as the Unseen — for the time being. Rayland Mark Calderón recently got in contact with his mom and sister, who are making their way to a military base in Killeen. Rayland is aided by Josiah Knect, his teammate and former love interest, whose naive optimism has been darkened by the murder of his parents. With 167 miles between him and his family, Rayland and his group of eight survivors decide to make the journey to Killeen. The only trouble is, dozens of newly-mutated Unseen have taken to the skies and ground, eager to weed out the last remaining humans and wipe them out.
Interweaving the struggles of unrequited gay love, familial ties, and the hope for a return to the old world, this story unveils the price that has to be paid in order for friendship and family bonds to coexist. Rayland must overcome not only his own grief, but also find a way to stop Reg Alteo, a wicked man with a thirst for bloodshed who hopes to abolish Rayland and Josiah’s hope for a better tomorrow — and a world without the Unseen.
Version 2: The Flyer and the Base is a post-apocalyptic novel about a college triathlete who now leads a band of survivors in the wake of the Unseen’s worldwide massacre. Rayland and his former love interest, Josiah Knect, are driven by their own bereavement and hope for a new world, a hope that kindles once Rayland receives a radio transmission from his mom and sister.
Determined to reach his family and lead them to a military base in Killeen where hundreds of survivors are holding out, Rayland and his group travel across Texas. They remain only a few steps ahead of both the newly-evolved Unseen, and Reg Alteo, a lone man whose twisted agenda to rid the world of weak and sentimental people fuels his hatred for Rayland and Josiah.
Told from the point of view of a grief-stricken but strong-minded gay man, The Flyer and the Base is a journey marked by both sudden violence and unexpected sacrifice. Its messages of friendship, family ties, and the balance between peace and brutality all converge in a sharp display of humanity, one that shines through the backdrop of death and animosity.