Day 75: One of Shanty’s Ends

Thickening the plot remains elusive to me.  After I practice writing I must learn to practice thickening.  Even a runny plot would be better than what I regularly mix up.

If you take the time to read any of what I have written–here or elsewhere–you would likely discover that I dabble in images.  The very brief element of a scene is something I feel I am good at generating.  In addition to setting the scene, I like to think I am able to allude to a direction, to a conflict.  Regardless of your appreciation of my abilities to do that, I have that impression.  The thing is, I don’t have a plot or even a plan.  I just have a finite moment or two.  What I need is a next.

I’ve heard more than a few authors like to determine the beginning and end and then work out the middles.  I have tried that once and still not gotten the middle worked out.  Mathematician’s would argue once is not statistically valid–possibly it’s worth another shot.

What I have in my head while I am writing is this thing with Shanty.  I’ve ended up with three scenes pointed squarely at a single destination.  I think it’s clear that destination isn’t the end of the story, just the site of the initial physical conflict.  I like these scenes and I am enjoying the characters thus far.  I don’t want to let them down.  I don’t want to let them down by composing crap nor by not composing anything at all.  Each of the three began as a simple but concrete point of view effort to describe Shanty.  There was no intention.  Maybe I could just try the same technique on the ending…

Tritti held nothing more dead Johnka’s belt knife.  She held no doubt that she would next kill the Killer.

Gane’s enormous hres finally paid off with the location of his sister.  Behind this door.

You tug at your shackles.  You pray that when they chronicle your journey that they leave this next embarrassing part out then fear for your immediate death overwhelms you.

The young witch resolves from the darkness with only that knife as a weapon.  She imbues it and throws.  No matter how you move or jerk or turn away it will find you heart.  Gane opens the door, sees the knife, and shields you in time.


Let’s see if we can put that to some use.

I should probably look into what comprises a good paragraph before I spend too much time composing any.  It’s doubtful I’ll discover anything I don’t already know about well written paragraphs, but I imagine the effort will beneficially remind me what I already know.  Not doing so perpetuates bad habits.

Word count: 453

Day 60: The Solex Guy

What has gone before.

It wasn’t a vow. It wasn’t a blessing-grade hres even. It was really more of a technique. Nearly two days into his fast if he just ate this one small slice of lamb, he’d not be throwing that much back up. If he even did get sick.

Gane marveled at how easily his single brain took sides against itself. If you throw it away you are wasting good food–good money. If you eat it you’re being untrue to yourself. You decided not to eat, you can decide when to eat. Yesterday’s Gane isn’t the boss of today’s Gane. [et cetera]

He looks around for an excuse, a starving child, a malnourished traveler, or some other graceful error handling. No out. Then he finds something. A sign. Probably from God. He’s being punished of course: no food or drink in slide car.

Alright that enough of the chatter about Gane fasting. It feels important but not interesting to write and it’s clearly me avoiding getting him over to the spike.

Let’s cut to the chase and get him over there and work out the head stuff later.

Gane’s penultimate stop is in the penthouse. His last in the basement–figures. At least for now he’s in the clean air and bright open room of a wealthier Tacon. That helps, because this is the largest array of solex panels he’s seen in a quarter.

He finishes his tertiary count. He’d expected 1024 but there were 1023 instead. The sun-worshiping Thapes were always one-offing the octals, something about not being too perfect. Tacon’s on the other hand were more practical about their solex: the panels come eight to a box, you can’t buy less than a full box, one-offing means throwing something away. Tacon’s don’t throw anything away they might need later. [something about being out here over the ocean and everything having value].

Gane measures the appropriate amount of silacaine then sifts in the powdered chintal seed. Despite being exactly tied tot he number of panels, the disappointingly near-white silacaine was more than a volumizing agent. It plus the chintal powder together was what powered his blessing.

I’m going to have to think more on blessing-grade hres before I can just hack one out.

Word count: 391

Day 50: The Solex Guy

Gane stood back from the clearcrete wall and the nerve-vibrating edge of oblivion. He was on deck for the next slide over to the ah’Taconschienteen spike. He had purposefully fasted since early the day before yesterday. His hunger drown out any nausea and focused his attention enough to stave off the worst of his vertigo. Chabe, a long dead technomonk, taught him that particular hres within a month of Gane taking vows. Gane had never been to ah’Taconschientee well fed.

His proper title was Solexcorp Technician – Prim. But the Tacons, and everyone else, just called him “The Solex Guy”.

While Gane’s bimonthly trips to the ah’Taconscienteen spike kept him lean of body and broad of billfold, they rolled tidal on his spirit. No hres he instantiated dampened his fluctuating emotions. Gane was certain the problem lay with the nature of his visits not the frequency or timing. One month wasn’t down and the next up. One trip wasn’t down and the next up. He could probably handle that–novitiate hres or even just alcohol could handle that. His problem was that his appointments bounced out to the extremes multiple time each trip. The best he could tell was that it matter where the solex was that he was blessing.

Higher up the spike things were brighter, bluer. Lower down he had to intone the blessing with greater ferocity to get the same effect. Lower down it smelled. Brine. Refuse–human and other. Lower down it was brown.

His visits were never timed to start at one end and work to the other. That might have helped. He wasn’t sure if top to bottom or the reverse would be more pleasing. He did think that gradual was the way to go. On this visit he’d been able to force a few of the appointments to different times. He’d wanted to go bottom to top, but even before he’d gotten the calendaring girl to swap a few around they were trending downward.

The light breeze off the ocean reversed. Cool salty air became the succulent sent of barbecued lamb in an instant. Gane’s mouth watered and he inhaled deeply. The cheenwood smoke mixed with the near burnt aroma of meat made him close his eyes and forget his fear of heights. Involuntarily he reached for the coins in his pocket and took a step toward the nearest vendor.

Hunger simultaneously propelled him forward and questioned his earlier decision to fast. The flavor of berry pepper in his nostrils suggested that this time his nausea was cured. He could eat this trip with no problem.

[some stuff here]

“Free sample,” the veteran vendor called out. The old man deftly sliced a bite sized morsel from the end of a cooling skewer and thrust it in Gane’s direction. When Gane didn’t respond the vendor quickly switched to Taconese, “Quee quee!”

Not wanting to be rude and balancing the likelihood of one piece of meat crashing his hres he accepted it. He hoped he didn’t look ravenous gulping it down. But then he felt even more compelled to purchase the remainder of the skewer. Rather than eat it, he held it in front of him like an unmade decision till it was cold.

Word count: 205