The Lull on Gondola 92

“What the hell?” you ask yourself. “Didn’t he say he was going to write up these plots of his?”

Yes, I did, and I have been. I did also say unless I didn’t. In yesterday’s and—you’ll soon learn—today’s I’ll be didn’ting. I’ve found tons of inspiration in Ian McQue’s illustrations and try to conjure something each time he gins (perhaps I should say ‘scotches’) up something new. He scotched something up yesterday and I want to followup today as well.

However, I don’t want to do the typical narrative I’d normally do. Back during NaNoWriMo 2009 when I made a half-hearted and ultimately failed attempt to participate in that event, I got to a point where I no longer wrote but instead wrote what I would write if I could write. At the time it felt like cheating. I neglected the material afterward thus retroactively making it cheating. Two days back I read something that placed that kind of effort in a different light. I no longer consider such meta-writing cheating as long as I come back to the meta and actually write the narrative.

What follows _could_ be cheating. But it might not be.

From yesterday…

http://mcqueconcept.blogspot.com/2011/02/gondola.html

Mr. Cameron—at least—knew enough to stay away from me. I doubt the other refugees, our accidental comrades, even noticed me on the bow [boat part I couldn’t find the name for]. And the six person crew of Gondola 92 were either too busy or too scared to warn me off to a safer spot. But Frakes noticed me right away, and once he was no longer busy he came to get me down.

Gulls shrieked and swooped and slid under me. They rose up from under the ship on swells of air I never felt on my face or in my hair. Occasionally one might churn it’s wings but only to gain better advantage on another or to make an abrupt turn. As long as I watched I never observed one to stroke it’s wings to fly. These white birds just glided.

Behind me, a woman we pulled from the caravan redescribed the events of the [some group] attack and the rescued rescue to Mr. Cameron. It was a tribute to his stoicism that she prattled on ignorant of his loss and oblivious to his pain. I wanted to push her off this boat and into the smoke and fog buoying below us, so I could hug him or hit him. I wanted to bring back Captain Munro too. I wanted to tell him it wasn’t his fault she died. I wanted to tell him it was me, but I wasn’t even able to convince myself of that; I think he may have been convincing himself it wasn’t me.

This scene is what I’ve come to call The Lull in the plot narrative I’ve been cleaving to for comfort lately. A time to think, a time to reconsider, and a time to decide to go tot he next level…or not.

Prior to illustration Partly, Munro, and Mr. Cameron were involved in some sort of attack from the [the guild?]. During the attack and subsequent flight Partly’s fear and anger increase until she’s unable to contain her rage and she erupts with power (yeah, I don’t know when/how/why she got powers either, but she seems to in this version). The result of that blast is that Captain Munro is killed saving Mr. Cameron [the guild?] is mainly thwarted and the two that live get mixed up with some Lander caravan they were trying to rescue or help out in some way.

Yesterday I didn’t have a reason for that Lander involvement, but now it suddenly strikes me that these Landers had the [McGuffin] and the crew of the Marcail were bargaining with them to get it or were trying to find them and only did so just as [the guild] attacked. In any case, it seems appropriate for the [McGuffin] to have gotten lost or to have been picked up by [the guild]. So no Munro and no [McGuffin], and Partly is probably responsible for both.

Anyhow, the Military who also wants Partly but has thus far been a bit more polite in their pursuit of her and truly doesn’t have nefarious plans (just conflicting ones) rescues the rescuers. [The guild] are run off or scattered or at least escape the military intact. Partly, Mr. Cameron, and the surviving Landers from the caravan mingle on the deck of Gondola 92. A garrulous Lander woman from the caravan buttonholes Mr. Cameron, and, ignorant of the facts and his grief, precedes to recount the marvelous and frightening events which just transpired. Partly wants to go to Mr. Cameron and help him in some way but she’s afraid of what to say and there’s that chatty woman.

Lt. Frakes, whom we’ve met earlier but I don’t know how or why, goes to Partly to talk and to get her off the bow [thing I still can’t find a name for. Would it kill you nautical bastards to provide a freaking picture with your voluminous glossaries!!!]. Where she’s perched like a gargoyle or a figurehead happens to be dangerous itself, slightly distracting to the boat’s pilot, and because of it’s lever-arm distance from the boiler could easily jostle her off into the clouds even if Partly were being careful not to fall off on her own. Frakes does the scared-dog conversation to coax Partly to safety. He lets her think she’s decided to come down.

That conversation likely has overtones of suicide and grief. I’ll probably have to do at least a couple of the stages of death related grief. Once off, I think Frakes will do tough-love to get her to chat with Mr. Cameron. Of course that means that somehow Frake needs n to know stuff I hadn’t planned for him to know. (Maybe there’s some pre-Partly relationship between he and Munro (and Mr. Cameron)).

So eventually Partly and Mr. Cameron talk. It seems likely that Mr. Cameron will entreat Partly to keep fighting ‘because that’s what Munro would want.’ She’ll be ready to decide to become The Martyr, but won’t decide such till after facing Tsien.

How much more will we need to engage the rest of the crew of Gondola 92? Probably some since I imagine there will be a few members introduced in the prior rescue scene.

I’ll need to sort out Frakes’ agenda. I think he’ll be more aligned to Engineer Coffee’s faction than to the straight Tsien line. Which would be great if I knew what those were. Whatever they are to them, to Partly they are nearly identical, so convincing her to side with Frakes or with Tsien will be a true struggle for Frakes.

1132 words on day 685

The Rescued Rescue

http://mcqueconcept.blogspot.com/2011/02/gondola.html

Mr. Cameron—at least—knew enough to stay away from me. I doubt the other refugees, our accidental comrades, even noticed me on the bow [boat part I couldn’t find the name for]. And the six person crew of Gondola 92 were either too busy or too scared to warn me off to a safer spot. But Frakes noticed me right away, and once he was no longer busy he came to get me down.

Gulls shrieked and swooped and slid under me. They rose up from under the ship on swells of air I never felt on my face or in my hair. Occasionally one might churn it’s wings but only to gain better advantage on another or to make an abrupt turn. As long as I watched I never observed one to stroke it’s wings to fly. These white birds just glided.

Behind me, a woman we pulled from the caravan redescribed the events of the [some group] attack and the rescued rescue to Mr. Cameron. It was a tribute to his stoicism that she prattled on ignorant of his loss and oblivious to his pain. I wanted to push her off this boat and into the smoke and fog buoying below us, so I could hug him or hit him. I wanted to bring back Captain Munro too. I wanted to tell him it wasn’t his fault she died. I wanted to tell him it was me, but I wasn’t even able to convince myself of that; I think he may have been convincing himself it wasn’t me.

I’m strangling this one a bit too much tonight. I’ll come back to it in the morning.

268 words on day 684

The Gloating Scriptures

I think I’ll probably gloat.

Yesterday’s post—regardless of quality or usability—represents the second full plotting of anything I’ve written here on 1000 Days. The first was that Wolverine and Jubilee comic script I wrote for some contest.

I see that confused look on your face. You ask, “What about the first ten days of this month? What about ‘Gertrude and Grumphook’? That, those, seemed like full plottings.” Yes, but they stemmed from themselves. They were their own point. And they could have been bad and I wouldn’t have cared—7 or 8 were bad. Yesterday’s plotting means that I took something inspired by a scene and extended it outward in both directions to mount it in a beginning, middle, and end tryptich. Malachi almost made it so almost did Charming—they will yet.

I suppose I should be even happier this is the first truly novel level plotting I’ve done with my work. (Shhhh…I know it’s super-ass barebones.)

Along with the straining that went into the bits you don’t see in yesterday’s scant outline I finally resolved the cultural archetypes needed to fuel the conflict of the Terminus stories. Those archetypes fit into a neat little grid that I doodled into a notebook. Here’s the transliteration:

[guilders] – Are Settlers from Earth who have made a good life in Terminus and would like to stay (or have no idea why they should return). They control magic and produce the flight-rods which power the airships of Terminus.

[military] – Are Settlers from Earth who have made a good life in Terminus and would like to stay (or have no idea why they should return). They do not have any magic and rely heavily on the Guilders for their flight-rods to power their ships.

[priests] – Are Settlers from Earth who have struggled in Terminus and would like to return to their homes and Families on Earth. They control magic, but focus their efforts upon the Outbound Spell rather than commerce.

[aboriginals] – Are the displaced people indigenous to the world in which Terminus resides. They used to have magic and would like it and their lost magicians returned. They are not incapable fighters, but the Settler interlopers, despite their minority, have the advantage.

Two groups with magic; two without. Two groups who’d like to stay; two who’d like them gone.

This leaves plenty of room for other minor groups who haven’t decided which way to fall or who play off the tensions between the others.

My shortfalls here are the hows. How will the Aboriginals oust the Military? How will the Guilders quell the Priests? How will the Priests recruit the Aboriginals? How will the Military gain independance from the Guilders?

448 words on day 661

Partly Plotted

OK. Just gonna lock my shit down and write something about Terminus regarding the Partly plot.

Plot – Escape.

Hook – Initally chased up a fire escape in Chicago, Partly finds herself climbing a rope ladder and boarding the Maker’s Marcail instead. And into an attack by raiders.

Plot Point 1 – Partly discovers the fact that she’s not as unfamiliar with Terminus as she’d originally thought when a tattoo/marking/memory matches with something she finds in Terminus.

Pinch 1 – The guilders, looking to maintain their grip on flight-rod commerce, find out Partly is probably the Harbinger and try to kidnap her but end up harming or taking Capt Munro instead.

Mid-point Twist – Mr. Cameron is revealed to have outted Partly and inadvertantly harmed his beloved captain.

Pinch 2 – The guilders find where Partly and the Maker’s crew are holed up in Terminus and burn the place down. Partly either escapes or finds herself away from the hideout at the time, returning too late.

Lull – Holed up with newly met Bogdan and Cyril feeling rather ‘woe is me’.

Plot Point 2 – Via Bogdan, Partly learns of the [priests] who also need the information Partly has in order to help return the Settlers to Earth. But she has to get to them before the Guilders get her.

Conclusion – Partly is able to narrowly escape the Guilder’s grasp and make it to the safety of the [priest]. We learn that her ‘knowledge’ is that of a timestamp. WHich now all parties know the deadline they are working to.

261 words on day 660

A Guileless Saviour

Yesterday I indicated I needed to have something of a planning session to bang out some plot for the Terminus storyline I’ve been hacking out from Ian’s paintings. Just now I’ve reread what I wrote initially when I introduced my original main character in The Maker’s Marcail.

That character differs from what I recall. I wrote her in first person. I wrote her older and less human than I remembered. I expected to find a young innocent a la Tritti.  Instead, I found a mysterious soul-binding alien in a human body—I guess. I like that, but I don’t remember it that way. She’s a guileless saviour.

How did she get to Terminus and what has she come to accomplish?

128 words on day 621

Piece-mealing Terminus

http://mcqueconcept.blogspot.com/2010/11/shore-leave.html

In four hours the sun will be up and Acetylene Avenue will be empty. But now, at 2AM, the beer doors call for sailors on shore leave and the crate-filled scotch pits crowd with Walkers and Fliers looking to make a little money besting the other at Mahjong or Cribbage. Shallow hulled party boats and make-shift taxi scows hang a body length above the shoulder-to-shoulder crowd looking for gaps. When the cannot find any they make them by crushing low and pushing off the empty-pockets to board paying customers.

Every other corner or so an armed constable stands watch in the roadway. They’ve got standing orders to thump or shoot and to not give a shit which works best.

The dragon-hiss of welding torches building, mending, and parting out skiffs and cruisers plays bassline from the boat houses and open-air docks to the melody of drunken revelry of the avenue.

159 words on day 619

Terminus Thinking

Terminus leaves me with three stories thus far. I think I can make one a major—I think I have to make one a major. Or maybe I mean main. In any case the other two seem to have some significance as well.

I have the story of the mysterious young girl who adopts the name Partly Cloudy Sky and rides along with Cpt. Munro and her first mate Mr. Cameron.

I have the story of Engineer Coffee and his struggle with Admiral Wu to relocate their base of operations and machine shop to a better locale.

And I have the story of tourist-traders Bogdan and Cyril doing no more than wandering Terminus and taking pictures of each other.

Something about this feels very cultural in scope. The adventure comes down to peoples liking or hating each other more than it comes down to individuals accomplishing personal goals. Though the peoples will be effected by the individuals.

I’ve got free fliers and I’ve got the military. There is a real friction between the two groups. The military considers them in their plans, but the free-fliers only think of the military as a natural force to be avoided or ridden out.

I keep coming back to something being over the mountains. Some group or person on the outside who wants in to Terminus. That Terminus must overcome its internal squabbles, unite, and oppose this outside force. But maybe it’s not. Maybe there is enough tension between the fliers and the walkers that these groups must hack it out with each other first. Potentially someone discovers a better use for the flying-rods than flying. So my ‘natural resource’ provides a source of conflict. That makes a surprising amount of sense.

I’ve thought this before, and I’ve avoided thinking about it too hard. The trouble I have with making this flying-rod thing too critical is that I can’t sort out how it wouldn’t have been critical sooner than later. And this is fairly later. It could be that things just take time, or that one group finds a new use for the rods or a way to use the rods better.

366words on day 608