*Disclaimer: author does not have a giant hairball.
In order to get back ahead of the curve after Tuesday didn’t overly happen, I packed in an awful lot of writing yesterday — Scrivener makes it 3,956 words — around my various chores, tasks, and assorted bits of RP prep. And now I’m back on track!
As far as Instability goes, assorted slightly disjointed things have happened as I jumped around between “things I need to write but that are tough” and “things I don’t need to write that are easy”. “Hex” has been lying low lately due to not having enough money to easily escape Venus should they be found, while Dayna, still in the guise of Leslie Jones the cargo hauler, is hanging out online and trying to work out which of the many ever-changing handles belong to her target. She’s picked out one user going by “theginthem”, which a lot of people thought was alcoholic, but Dayna, after a while, started wondering if perhaps the real spacing was “the g in the m” — which would fit with some of the previous known aliases.
And then there needed to be people things and other such nonsense, so Dayna went to some bar to bet on sports. Unfortunately, the only bar I really like to frequent tends to be punctuated by stabbings, magical explosions, the occasional demon, and a lot of shouting — oh, and no drinks since the building admins went insane years ago.
Also Mars came through the roof one time and we still can’t decide whether Forcible Bar Repair is legal.
Taking all of that into account, you can see how watching sports at a bar isn’t exactly my strong point. Even if the sport in question did end up being zero-g flightdisk because who doesn’t want an anti-gravity frisbee? However, Dayna did briefly meet “Hex” (under the name of Annie), and has got her as one of the shortlist of suspects. She’s getting closer…
And before all of that, we had a brief introduction to why Dayna being in space is a terrible idea, and if she ever let on she’d lose her job. It hypnotises her, captivates her; if she ever lost control, she could just drift and stare into the blackness until her air ran out…
And after all of that, we had “Hex” disguised as a maintenance tech and people-hacking her way into an office block by pretending she’d left her ID card inside yesterday and got locked out and was already so late for her shift and really didn’t want to be in trouble after she only just got transferred here and I’m sure I know there’s only about three places it could be, I’ll find it right away… and then, having got in, picked up a tech support request as an excuse to go fiddle with someone’s computer. Which is going to give her so many really dumb computer problems to deal with…
That’s the working title for my NaNo. “Instability“, that is. (Link only works if you can sign in to NaNo, sadly. 😦 ) It’s the First Contact / undercover cop story that I discussed earlier, and I have begun my research and been collecting my ideas in earnest! It will probably take up much of my already shrinking spare time, with the result that this blog will likely either go somewhat dark over November, or, perhaps more likely, become filled with random updates on the Solar Police and the state of interstellar politics. So stay tuned for that, but probably not for much else!
Tuesday brings us another chapter of The Fused, and there’s one final surprise in store for Lindsi and our narrator! The list of questions will be complete by the end of Chapter 31: Captain on Bridge. And it’s here in the command centre of the Ship where maybe, just maybe, at least some of the answers can be found. At the very least, the first thing they find here will be a good start.
Generating all these links is the worst part, because after typing them in enough times, they stop looking like words any more! But now it’s time for a different one: I’m not the only person posting serials on a Tuesday, and to find a few others, check out TuesdaySerial.com… though the site won’t update with this week’s stories until well into Wednesday!
Oh yes, and I had to edit Chapter 9: Solar Strip slightly to fix an erroneous description of the Bridge that had survived from an early conception of the Ship. Nothing major has changed, but I’d feel bad if I didn’t note that there had been an edit.
I don’t think my writing process has really changed all that much, but the longer I keep doing this, the more of what was once subconscious becomes accessible to my conscious mind. The old “I have a feeling this is going somewhere” or “This isn’t going to work out” feelings about things I was writing — which were usually pretty accurate; it’s not that I was any more wrong than usual — have become steadily more nuanced until I’ve started to be able to unpack them into why.
Take Dayna, for example. She’s now rapidly pulling ahead in the NaNo stakes, because realising that I needed to do First Contact, well, first spurred me on to finally think about and start to untangle all the various aspects of the First Contact story, and that, like designing the blueprints for a building, is letting me see at least some of what this construction could look like — and what it could look like is good.
[[Spoilers, spoilers.]] Continue reading
I was debating making alterations to Dayna’s story, or at least to which part of it I used as a NaNo candidate, and I decided to talk some of it over with a friend. Talking (or typing, since it was an online conversation) forces me to put my thoughts and feelings into words, which helps me define what I’m really thinking. In this case it crystallised the whole general sense I had that something just wasn’t complete, didn’t go deep enough: that I was thinking of telling the wrong story.
The tale I was planning to tell is complete enough in and of itself, but it starts in the wrong place and is either irrelevant or repetitive in relation to the grand arc of the Federation’s overall plot. It’s a story best told later, as a tie-in that explores some previously offscreen events in greater depth. Writing the first Federation stories to be released to the world means I need to be writing on the Grand Arc.
[[Spoilers Ahoy!]] Continue reading
And this story probably isn’t quite regular enough for me to legitimately say “and you know what that means”, but…what the heck! The Fused is here! Lindsi is back, and back inside the Ship, and her problems just seem to keep on getting bigger. How much longer can she carry the weight of it all?
My current options for November are:
- Arres. According to my records, his story first appeared in April 2011, in a dream I had. It was subsequently built on a little while listening to music in my parents’ car (Uriah Heep: Circle of Hands), and was the brief subject of a collaboration in an attempt to figure out how the heck he gets from his home village to, well, anywhere interesting, really. The biggest roadblock with Arres is that his motivations start out relatively small (find his father, find out why he left him this crazy scabbard tattoo thing) and have to be dragged somehow to something larger.
- Dayna, and how she ended up in the future. Dayna has been around since… hmm, actually, since the original Hero Machine, a character creator I once found on the Interwebs. I created her there and she promptly grew a story, personality, and so on, and I don’t think I even have records for when she began, beyond that a couple of my image files for her were last modified in May 2003. She’s a Martian-born space cop in the late 2100s, the era of humanity’s First Contact in my Galactic Federation timeline. When a horrible plague breaks out on Mars, she’s eventually infected. The Galactic Federation offer their aid, but one of their hospital ships goes astray and is lost in deep space for several hundred years… until it’s found by a particularly hostile and remorseless species, who wake the stasis-preserved passengers for bioweapons research.
- Cleris, and what it really means to have wild, imagination-limited magic in the world. I may be happy with Mysteries Unite as a piece of writing, but I was never quite happy with myself for writing it. It did its job — it won me a writing competition in 2007 (for which I never did get my prize: the prize was 2kg of chocolate and the exec ate it before the meeting in which I would have got it!) — and it was an interesting way to write, and it worked very well. But as the short story stands, it’s antithetical to everything I am and everything I stand for. It says this world, this wonderful, incredible world, isn’t beautiful. It says the fathomless mystery and majesty of the universe is worthless. And so I determined to fix it, somehow. In the end, I realised, it would take a book. A book for which the original Mysteries Unite was just a prologue. A book that would end in a truly heart-wrenching choice…
- Tsien, and how she and Siris won the war. At the other end of humanity’s part in the Federation’s timeline (it goes back to long before our First Contact!), the galaxy has been plunged into cataclysmic war. Tsien and her siblings are the culmination of three hundred years (Earth time) of research by the brightest minds in the Federation. If they can’t win the war, civilisation as we know it will die.
- Kirai, and the half of his story that doesn’t exist yet, a tale actually born out of a Waterstones competition to fit a short story on a large postcard in 2008. He’s the one who’s since got the furthest without participating in any writing challenges, and much of his tale already exists, at least up to the point where there’s a rather unfortunately fateful family encounter. The second half, however, doesn’t, and could really use my going on with it – I got to the point where all the truly huge conflicts were set up and poised to snowball, and then got distracted.
So there you have it. There are more, lots more, but I think a shortlist of five is more than enough for me to choose from. (There is a sixth option, which is “whatever I dream in between now and then”, but that’s quite beside the point.)
Questions or suggestions? Sling them at me in the comments! I’m happy to expand on any and all of the above!
On one level, that seems a little silly to say. After all, every month is a writing month now! On the other hand, the rather specific challenge of November is, at this point, a long-running tradition. It’s how the first draft of BtSF got finished. It’s the time in the year when something like 80% of any given book of mine was first written. And, of course, I’m going to keep doing it — which means something else is going to suddenly get a rocket boost.
The question is, what?
I have a lot of stories to write, a lot of tales to tell. I seem to add to the mountain ahead faster than I can climb it, which I don’t really mind considering it is a mountain of piled-up awesomeness. Or at least, it is to me. Opinions may vary. In any case, it’s now definitely time to be thinking about what I’m going to do over November. And that’s a harder decision.
I was going to write Arres’ story, one I’ve had kicking around for a long time and never done anything with. But that story has slammed straight into another one and the second one will overrule it without ever meaning to. Because of structure, because of shape, because of the characters — Arres is going to have to work very, very hard to become someone who can stay afloat at all. So, maybe I should go watch him work, throw rocks at him and see if he makes it, because Book 2 will be the handover point if he does, where he meets… well.
Or maybe I should just do what I’ve been meaning to for over a year and write the story of Dayna Kingsley of the Solar Police, but last time I meant to do that I got totally sidetracked by a very detailed dream and ended up writing AIN instead. That happens a lot, actually. Dreams that become books, I mean. For all I know it will happen again in the upcoming month, and I’ll find myself writing something completely different.
But it would be nice to get Arres to a point where he could hold his own in that other tale. After all, it was his world to begin with, born of yet another dream I had. That second story could go elsewhere, its heart comes from elsewhere, and though it fits very, very well in his world, rooting it properly will be complex.
And I really must stop forgetting that I absolutely have to second-draft the first part of Reclamation, as well as find a good spot for it to end… (There will be a sequel: Reclamation is getting awfully long and looks likely to need to be two books.)
So: writing! Let’s get busy!
(Stalk my November progress over here on NaNoWriMo.org, when the site’s yearly update goes live sometime in October. Right now it’s still showing last year’s novel.)