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 67: More on Johnka’s Sledge

The cockpit/bridge [need a better term and consistency here] of Johnka’s floating sledge underslings the prow.  The driver [captain] enjoys most of the day in the sun.  For early morning and late afternoon sun the driver flies bright canopies.  Some models are equipped with a heliotracking curtain that does the work for the driver.  During light wind storms or gusty days a sand curtain is hung around the entire cockpit.

On brisker days drivers land the sledge, lower the balloons, and anchor the craft as best they can.  The kabs are drawn up on the windward side to protect the craft.  [could go either way on the logic here; maybe the kabs should be leeward]  With the sledge leeward of the kabs there is less digging to be done to get back underway.  I’ve seen 3/4 buried kabs stand and walk away with no more than a grunt to mark their effort.

Behind the cockpit, most modern sledges have a small kitchen: a cook stove, a sink and a low table.  On either side of that one room is a berth or two.  Larger sledges with a crew will have a long narrow hall running the length of the ship to a larger bunk room and small mess.

Clearly I need to decide what sort of vehicle this is: sled, ship, or wagon.  Nautical terms on the web here I come.

Word count: 228

Day 66: Johnka’s Kab Team

Today I’ll be digging up Tritti and Johnka from the pilgrim and Shanty thread.  After a sort.

Johnka’s wagon is typical of any on the thinly disguised desert sands of [somewhere].  But it’s of the largest sort.  It’s size isn’t what you notice first.  The low featured desert dune magnify and reduce objects in a random way that makes appreciating scale a waste of time.  No, the first thing you notice is how high it rides off the blown sand given she’s just tri-rigged.

Typical of the older drivers out here, Johnka likes the stability of three balloons over the draft/lift of four. [need to dig up more consistent sailing ship terminology]  And he still gets the good drafting.  It’s not because he’s underloaded either, potatoes, apples, and tellats are literally falling over the sides.  Creating a something of a trail for the desert animals looking for easy food.

The the bridge under slings the prow.  Johnka has a few extra canopies flown out along the rim to get even more shade in the setting and rising sun–he likes his days early and late.  No doubt he drifts off to sleep during the dull noon hours while his veteran kab team continues eastward or westward depending.

Kabs are not well built for desert winds.  Their pink and grey scaled humps rising from their stout frames and short legs makes them look just like a sailboat turned lizard.  But the winds run mostly the direction they are heading or opposite it.  In the end, the absurdly scaled water reserve acts more like a keel than a sail.

Need to wrap it up there.  Maybe I’ll tack on something later today.