Story Behind the Story: Original Synergy

I’m not quite sure how the third story in Philosophy and Fairytales came about, other than that I’ve always been fascinated by conspiracy theory. Some years back, I started a novel that included the idea all the secret conspiracies (Illuminati, Freemasons, Elders of Zion, Trilateral Commission, Men in Black, Opus Dei) exist. Somewhere between that old and never-finished story (it’s so old I remember one female character’s distinguishing physical feature was that she wore a tattoo, because that was so unusual) and the start of Original Synergy, it became a comedy.
The premise: The Knights Templar are hosting Synergy-21, a grand conference where all the different groups get together and try to sort out their agendas so that if they’re not on the same page, they’re not at least stepping on each others’ feet.
The protagonist: Serena Dean, Northwest Florida meeting planner (I set this one in my former home turf. I later switched it to the Carolinas, but this er, definitive version puts it back on the Emerald Coast).
The challenge: She has two weeks at the height of tourist season to book rooms, book a conference center and pull the whole thing off. Of course, she has some advantages most planners don’t (“A quick call to the Peoria Templars and the manufacturer who booked the meeting rooms just declared bankruptcy.”), but still …
The earlier version of this tale bounced around multiple markets before selling to Applied Chaos a few years back. When I started work on my Smashwords collection, I read it to the writing group for some feedback. Their verdict: I lost my way. It starts out with Serena under tremendous pressure, then forgets about that for political satire and her romance with an Illuminati (originally an Elder of Zion but given that conspiracy theory really was used to stigmatize and justify discrimination against Jews, I reduced them to a quick cameo).
So back to the drawing board I went to keep her struggle to pull off Synergy-21 running all the way through the conference. They’re right, it works much better. I also threw in a few more conspiracies such as Skull and Bones (I will admit to fudging one conspiracy: The Jesuits were the classic Bogeyman for Protestant anti-Catholicism, but I figured Opus Dei, courtesy of Dan Brown’s writing, would make a more name-value threat these days).
I’m pleased with the result. Well duuh, I’d hardly be bragging about it if I wasn’t, would I?

1 Comment

Filed under Short Stories, Story behind the story, Story Problems, Writing

One response to “Story Behind the Story: Original Synergy

  1. Pingback: Atlas Shagged is a go! | Fraser Sherman's Blog

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