OK – a company I like (White Wolf Game Studios) had a novel contest to pull in a new pool of writers. They produce fiction, role playing games, and a few other things besides. Their main line of games and novels is set in their WORLD OF DARKNESS. It’s basically our world, same Statue of Liberty, same world leaders, same McDonalds…but the shadows are deeper, city buildings have a few more gargoyles staring down, and monsters are real. The glassy eyed priest is actually a blood slave to a vampire. The noise in the woods is a werewolf. The mumbling homeless guy does see dead people. The monsters under Timmy’s bed are real, only they’ve spread into the walls, into his toys, and into his mother’s head. It’s X-Files with some Lovecraft, with a swirl of gothic, and with a dash (JUST a dash) of Anne Rice. You get the picture.

So, in their novel contest, you go through a series of rounds, each round eliminates more writers. The first round was writing a treatment for a novel set in their world. The requirements are that it is set in the World of Darkness, that it’s 250 words (or around), and contains one of their signature characters from the series. The treatment might make a little more sense to someone more familiar with the setting. I didn’t bother explaining anything about the signature character I’m using (Loki) as 250 words is a pretty tight space to explain a whole novel and try and give a sense of your writing style. But here I go…

“There is no exquisite beauty…without some strangeness in the proportion.”
-Edgar Allan Poe, “Ligeia”

It began with her green eyes, unblinking, or the set of her teeth, or some strangeness of her symmetry, but when Simon met Jane Doe, cold on the slab, he knew that he loved her – knew the ones who did this had to pay.

Simon, a Chicago coroner, never socialized well with the living, his colleagues often laughing at his eccentricities. The dead were his friends. He knew each body more intimately than any lover, gave each deceased soul a voice. Simon was the modern necromancer, singing requiems with surgical cuts and his metallic voice on digital recordings. But the legal system, miles of tape stained red, did not always want the truths he divined. Jane was the last straw. Sometimes, the cold heft of a scalpel is reassuring – as is the cold need to extract justice, with surgical cuts and screaming confessions.

This obsession takes Simon into the Plutonian streets of the World of Darkness, where alleyways hiss shivering secrets and clown faced fast food order-boards give gargoyle grins, and cackle in demon-static whispers. The search brings him into contact with Loki, an undead sentinel on his own investigation, and the world of vampires.

Strangeness In the Proportion is a mystery, a twisted noir, but, most importantly, it’s a love story on the other side of entropy. Voices living and dead, damned and doomed will murmur theories of why Simon first set on these series of misadventures.

But it all began with her eyes…