I should keep better track of the things I read. I suppose thats what Delicious and Evernote are for, but I don’t always have the time to archive serendipity. I should keep better track because when I everntually write about the things I read I’d like to link back to them for your reference. Suffice to say I did read several somethings along the lines of what I’ll write about now. I did not make this up.
That I did not ake this up should be evident in how clever it is. What I’m writing about not my writing.
A reader should be able to pick up a book, start reading at any point, and within a few paragraphs know the characters’ goals. That, for me says quite a bit. I need go no further, but will anyway.
I don’t think the authors I’ve aggregated that statement from meant that a character’s whole plot goal should be immediately apparant, though I suspect they think it should appear soon. I believe they mean a character’s scene goal; their current driving need. Worse, they expect clarity for the antagonist’s goal too; the bad guy can’t just poke your heroine in the eye he needs a reason to poke her in the eye.
These are the writing lessons I love to find. And consequently love to avoid incorporating in my writing.
Last week a wrote with this in mind, but neglected to have a goal for my antagonist. My antagonist merely through up half-hurdles for my protagonist to overcome. Looking back on the piece I didn’t like where the bad guy’s flimsey efforts were leading. Ultimately he’d have become a throwaway character and the scene would have played for no other useful reason than to introduce the protagonist by name in a clever-like way; that could have been done elsewhere and better.
OK, so. Bad guy needs a deeper life I decide. This story is not outlined at this point so I can do anything I want. Suddenly I’ve decided that our minor functionary is now the client who hired our protagonist to off the wife of his boss. Now I’ve got something I didn’t have before.
Why no, I don’t write on days I go fishing. Seems self-evident to me.
Yeah, that’s bullshit. I dropped a day and didn’t need to if I’d planned better. Though I did fish longer than I’d anticipated. And then there were the Christmas lights to take down. This week of writing has not gone the way I’d hoped but it’s right in line with how I planned. Since I didn’t plan, I can say that with high accuracy.
You got a prime berthing but you still have to walk a bit to the showers since you’re not the first to get stowed. Some weasly functionary in dockworker whites waits for you at the end of the gangway near the doorway to the pilot’s lounge. He’s eyeballed every other pilot coming in and stopped once his eyes met yours. That you could take him in a fight doesn’t enter into your mind, but you do wonder what he wants. You hope he’s not been sent as a recreational sex apology.
“Excuse ma’am…err…miss,” he asks. You pretend not to know he’s addressing you and walk on by. He’s prepared for this and good at being weasly. He smoothly matches your step and grabs your wheelie to help.
“I just want a shower. Can it wait?” you ask.
“Yes and no.” He thrusts a card into view for you to take; you don’t. He continues wrangling with the wheelie trying to gain control; you don’t let him win. After several more steps and no explanation of the card you pull up short and exasperated.
“Sorry. It’s an upgrade for the lounge. It won’t get you away from the xenos but you won’t have to wait for a hot shower. Newer towels and even a massuere.” He abandons his useless grasp on the wheelie to talk with his hands.
“Thanks.” You snatch it from him and head off to the showers. Leaving him in your wake.
“Ma’am!” There must be more than the upgrade.
“Call me Bonnie. And keep walking if you want me to listen.”
His black hair manages to make a dockworker buzz look stylish, but he’s too skinny and his eyes too small. As weasly as he is, he’s still attractive—but too young. He hurries to catch up.
A miniskid slides up to your boots. You toss on your duffel and guitar kit and go back to rummaging around the passenger’s side floorboards to find the second of two dead batts you tossed there. Perhaps you’re having trouble finding either of the batts because you’re thinking more about the security for the data-paq you’re couriering: obscurity, stealth, subterfuge, or strong-arm? Or maybe it’s all the food wrappers, the rank and stale sports-bra, and the books getting in your way.
:Yes, there’s one!:
Normally you’d do the obscurity thing without a further thought. It suits your personality and your wallet, but you’re thinking it over anyway. Stealth’s too blown from your ride in. Can’t motor in on a bitchin’ flit like this custom B’bridge and not expect people to notice. You’re too frazzed after the long jump from [planet name here] to bother with the acting that goes along with subterfuge though you could go for some man burning sex-play. Can’t have too many of those notches. Maybe you’ll fit some of that in anyway. That leaves armed guards and an impromptu parade through the core of Okkatu. And endless waiting.
:Screw it. Not waiting. Not after that ride.:
You remove the data-paq from the skid’s safe and stuff it into a day bag with your floorboard trash and laundry.
:There’s the other batt.:
I thought I’d not yet written your deboarding in the hanger, but apparently I had. Maybe I can slot this bit in before that one.
All this mess with Jansa and her mother and Jansa’s drama disabuses me of the joy of theme weeks. Especially if you get a dud—or what you work into a dud. I like the serenity of the Juena character too much to ruin any potential by exploring the hotheaded Jansa further at this time. Theme week ends early this week.
In the housekeeping category I should note that I’ll be out of my usual environs for the weekend and into a more challenging writing situation next week. I’ll do what I can to roll with the change-up, but I think any long time reader of 1000 Days knows whats up ahead for 1KD.
I’d planned to leave off of the shanty thread initially and I will after this brief exception to prove the rule.
You post your black-out welding goggles to your forehead to review your work in real light. The welds tighten better near the end, of course they’re not as crisp as Daddy might have done them, but they’ll work for tonight’s gig. And they’ll hold till you get the gravity guitar back to that shop in Tsarko II.
You untie the leather drape across you face to blow out the bits of slag [find out what thats really called] from the pick-ups. However, eager for a warm-up, you begin tuning her out before taking off your coveralls or gogs.
Much better. That soft G wave tightened up and seems gapped better between the D and the B waves—the E’s not hairy. Your tuner-monitor redundantly agrees with your fingers. A few more strums to be sure everything’s heavy and you grind into “House on Fire” by The Oh Johnny! Girls.
Word count: 286
“Inside. ‘nside. ‘nside. ‘nside. Get. In. Side.” Johnka chased Tritti into the empty red tent. He stumbled to the ground trying not to overrun her with his bulk after she halted abruptly in the entrance. He just lay there in the sand rather than get up.
“What was that?” Tritti knelt to help him up but he invited her to just sit. She crossed her legs and rubbed the sand out of her eyes. The wind pulled loudly at the tent trying to drag it out of it’s moorings like a barking dog straining it’s tether.
“Raish. That was a raish wind. a little early in the season I’d say, but a raish for sure.” Johnka said it like he was trying to convince himself as well.
“I know what a raish is old man. I meant the woman. The woman with the gun.”
“You saw that?”
Tritti nodded tightly as if to ask, ‘How the hell could I not?’
Above the noise of the raish they could hear shopkeepers and patrons alike yelling to get in out of the wind. Curses at the sand for lost income and scattered products out weighed the wailing of a single woman who had just lost her daughter. All Tritti could hear was that woman.
“She was dressed like me. She had hair braided like mine. Anyone not knowing either of us would have thought us sisters–twins maybe.”
“Twins? Certainly not. You are much more beautiful…”
“Stop. Stop it. Just because I can’t figure out who you really are doesn’t make me stupid or blind,” Tritti seethed, “That woman…that woman was trying to kill me. And she would have had you not paused to admire that other girl’s scarf so obviously.” Tritti paused before saying the next thing. She wanted to hear it in her head first to make sure she wasn’t guessing. “You saved my life by helping that woman take that girl’s instead.”
Johnka opened his mouth to explain, but something else came out instead. “Hate me then, but you’re alive.”
“I will. Never doubt that old man. Never doubt that.”
Extended inspiration from the fifth one down on the first column. Read related here and here.
You give the deckteam shit for misidentifying your Bainbridge and graciously accept a high berth near the exit corridor. Works every time.
The robots and gizmos are ‘socking’ your flit so you know you’re in the stix again–everywhere else they’d be calling it ‘bagging’. Either way, no dust on the custom flexx. It’ll still drape like a hyperswoop but it’s fair camo for a casual glance in this crowded berthing.
You DX your pad’s tap and get back four bars. Every byte of data gets routed through the flit’s on-board before it floats into your noggin–you can never be too secure. As you walk away with your kit bag slung over your shoulder and your rollie in tow you get the feeling you’re missing something. Oh yeah. You throw the Berthmaster in the watchhouse a curt wave. He probably thinks you’re thanking him for the prime spot in the berthing, but you’re really making sure he sees your gear. Need him to think you’re in town for a long one not just here to kill his wife.
Word count: 192
Inspired by the fifth one down on the first column. Read related here and here.
:Another fucking floating city,: you think.
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You’ve left the profanity filter on from last night at the bar. And afterward at the brothel.
:I hate floating cities.:
Mom commented in your log recently that the in-eye cam is making her sick so you feed out 30 seconds of vid from your flit’s camera instead. The rest of your flight dumps to your on-board memory banks. You never know who or what you’ll find on approach.
:How did I not know Okkatu was a floater?:
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Okkatu is the uprooted dome style floater. The graceful arc of it’s roof contrasted by the dribbling geometry of it’s belly. If you were to like any floater over another it would be the ringed ones with towers–thick torus with three towers rather than the thin ones with four or five. And leaning out not perfectly vertical. Those you knew where to berth your flit. This thing was like trying to find the ass on a jellyfish.
You drop the Bain’s twin-turbines down to a creamy 5400 HPM and aim for the center like everyone else tonight. Nav picks up the beacon 5 klicks out. You feel it direct you to lower level because it picked up your false ident–tonight you’re a 20 year mini-cargo drone instead of a heartbreaking tricked out hyperswoop. Looks like it’s communal showers with aliens and boys again.
Word count: 247