Last night I finished an important milestone: The rough draft for Jasper City is now 100% finished.

I’m aware that it will need work and serious editing, but the words are down. That’s the first major step. I hung in there from the beginning to the end, and to be honest, I’m more proud of this story than anything else that I’ve written.

The city of Jasper once shone. Now it lies in ruins and rust.

The man known as Citizen 71 is exiled to the streets, where he watches the city continue to rot while raising his newfound family. He sees the plight of the citizens, man and machine, ruled by the greed and bloodlust of one man, and hatches a plan that he knows will fix everything.

Mayor Zero sends out the one man he trusts with his life, the decorated soldier A-17, to put an end to this plan. Haunted by memories of battles past and with the thoughts of his terminally ill daughter at home, all he wants is an end to the conflict and the city’s return to normalcy. Is he on the right side to make that happen?

Jasper City started out with one premise in mind: I wanted to take a heroic character, build him up into something like the setting’s Messiah, and in one final instant tear that image down. The story has since evolved, and the end result doesn’t quite have that formula.

I’m not ashamed to say that I was heavily inspired by a Nine Inch Nails album when coming up with the plot. Year Zero gave me a number of ideas, and some desert punk stories such as Dune and The Book of Eli gave me ideas for the overall, post-apocalyptic setting.

For the City itself, I actually based its culture on North Korea. Some time ago I read the account of an American citizen who took a tour through the insular country. (It can be found here.) This wound up working a bit too well: because it’s strongly implied that this story takes place after the wars on terror go horribly wrong, the citizens sound less like they swallowed a foreign philosophy and more like the craziest Tea Party members.

Now I’m taking a break from the story, and letting it breathe before I go back and try to fix it. But there is no way that I’m just going to let this gather dust now.

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