Life to Mars

NaNo grinds on.  I’m over fifty-five thousand words, and to say I’m going to his sixty-five thousand is a forgone conclusion.  With ten thousand words to go–or there about–I can finish up by Sunday.  I felt good about the writing last night, with the chapter flowing very nicely.  I was also using the Document Target function in Scrivener to hit my goals, and to push myself a little–as in, once I hit my goal, I see the counter for another hundred words, then I hit that and set it for another two hundred words . . . Yes, those programs can help you move along, and get to those word counts that you want to hit.

There was something else that happened to me–in my dreams, of course.  It wasn’t triggered by the news that something “Earthshaking” is coming from Curiosity, or the vision that Elon Musk has for getting to Mars . . . but I think it was Mars that called to me–

Or to one of my characters.

It was just a quick vision, not a real dream, one of those things that comes to you in the hinterlands between sleep and awake.  The things that came to me . . . well, it was food for the story mill.

It was a woman, walking through a desert.  She was in a long coat, and her face was wrapped to keep the dust out of her face, and goggles to keep her eyes clear.  The sky was dark, the sand red, and in the distance there was a city, rising up beyond the rim of something–maybe a ravine, maybe a crater.  The woman stopped to take in the vista, then unwrapped her face–and smiled.

That was all I got before I woke up.

Some time back I had a dream about a woman who was also a mecha pilot, and probably a Muslim as well.  It was an interesting dream, because there were things happening in the dream I didn’t expect.  Since that dream, I get something like a little nudge about the story, but not much beyond that.

The vision that came to me, however–it was related to this story, and to the character.

For some reason I’ve thought of Mars these days, probably because I’ve always found the place interesting.  And with Curiosity now there, more is going to come to light about the Red Planet.  I still have my copy of the Arthur C. Clarke novel, The Sands of Mars, with the famously now-wrong-after-all-these-decades line, “There are no mountains on Mars,” because we know a lot better these days.  The Mars I know these days is not Barsoom, though someone has taken the opportunity to place Barsoom on today’s Mars, which is a very cool thing–though I’m damned if I can find the link right now.  Woe is me.

Perhaps this is the direction my next story is suppose to take:  a tale of struggle upon a Mars that looks slightly terraformed, or maybe with people who have become transhuman, and for whom walking upon the surface without breathing apparatus isn’t that big of a deal.  It’s possible it’s both.  I don’t know at this point–

Because I haven’t started building my world.