Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Come and see the show!

It's amazing that the novelty hasn't worn off yet. To wit: I'm not spending every waking hour trying to find reasons to avoid writing. I'm actually looking forward to my writing time at night, and annoyed when something intrudes that prevents me from doing so. That's such a cool sensation--and one absent from my experience for far too long--that I get positively giddy thinking about it. So, to celebrate the astounding amount of progress I've made on "Europa, Deep and Cold," I share the following efforts from last night with you:
"Ah," I said for lack of anything better. I reclined, looking up through the transparent dome of the bell. Deep whorls and rills decorated the underside of the berg. Smooth scalloped depressions and undulating channels crossed the terrain, as gentle and inviting as the top of the berg was harsh and forbidding.

"It is... magnificent," I said, grudgingly.

Sabine gave my hand a triumphant squeeze. "So you tell me, was it worth it?"

Sabine had ordered us off of our plotted tour three days earlier, chasing an irregular pulse of oxygen that kept popping up where it shouldn't be. Chasing it deep. Europa's antijovian hemisphere harbored hydrogen segregated by Jupiter-induced electrical currents through the ocean. Any free oxygen belonged in the subjovian hemisphere, so something strange was going on. With another crew, the phantom spikes would likely have remained just that, but Theda was good. She's the one who first parsed the minuscule oxygen spikes amidst the flood of background data, and she's the one who bull's-eyed phantom spikes of hydrogen peroxide and methanol as we closed on our quarry.

But Sabine's the one who scrapped our mission plan to chase the ghost, risking her career on a hunch.

I'd argued for sticking to the tour. And she wasn't about to let me forget it.

"Yes, yes, yes already! But what is it? How can it be so dense?"

And there's genuine, hard science in there! Didja notice? Huh? Didja didja?

One problem that I do see looming ahead with this "Extreme Makeover: Fiction Edition" approach is that with the new story structure I've adopted, there doesn't appear to be room anywhere for one particularly relevant scene. The scene isn't plot-critical, otherwise the new structure wouldn't stand on its own without it. But it is critical in regards to the character and motivation of two major characters. And there's a good chunk of world-building slipped in there as well, but that's a secondary issue. I'm left with the quandry of how to integrate those crucial character bits into the new narrative flow without committing the sin of infodump or bloating the latter half of the story and derailing forward momentum.

But then again, problems like this are why they pay me the big bucks.

Now Playing: The B-52s Time Capsule: Songs for a Future Generation

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