All Quiet in the Ready Room

A funny thing happened yesterday:  I left work early to take care of some business, I stopped to have a nice dinner, the first in a few weeks, and then I came home kinda buzzed from a couple of beers and started writing.  It was early for me, maybe five-thirty, but I got right into the word making.

I felt pretty relaxed, too, though that could have been the booze talking.  Or it could be I’m in a good part of the story and having fun.

I’m in the ready room at my flight school, and I’ve thirty-two students dressed like tiny World War II pilots, all pretty much wondering what the hell they’ve gotten themselves into.  The instructor is trying to set their minds at easy by–well, I’ll let her tell you:


“My name is Victoria Salomon, though most people call me Vicky, with a ‘y’. I’m a graduate of this school and a member of Bloeddewedd Coven. I’m forty-two and I have a birthday coming up in a couple of months. I’m on my second marriage, and I have two children, a boy and a girl—one from each husband. I don’t expect any more of either.” There were a few chuckles from the children, which was more than she expected: normally they were afraid to do anything with that comment but stare.

“I grew up in Portland, Oregon. In case anyone is interested . . .” She reached inside her thermal top and revealed the Star of David pendent on the chain around her neck. “My parents were Jewish, and I was raised in the faith. I still consider myself a practicing Jew, though I’m far from Orthodox, or even Reform. Which is to say, if you need to get in touch with me on a Friday night I can be found, and I’ve even been known to enjoy bacon now and then.

“After I graduated from here I got into racing. The Foundation maintains several PAV racing leagues, and that was where I went. I’ve flown three different classes of PAVs in four different leagues over thirteen years. Most of what I did was road courses and cross country rally racing, though I have been on a few of the more well-known race course throughout the world. I’ve won a lot of racing, and I won four championships, including one world championship.” She took a deep breath through her nose. “I’m rather proud of that last one.

“So why am I telling you this? Because I once sat where you’re sitting. And, I’m not a Legacy.” She let a low rumble of thunder pass before continuing. “I wasn’t even a good pilot my first year. If it weren’t for my instructor bending a few rules, and my father buying me a broom and sending me off to a summer camp, who knows if I would have done as well as I did.”

Vicky rested her hands on the podium and relaxed. “Each of you has the same opportunity as me: you’ve never been on a PAV, you’re wondering how you’re going to do it, and you’re nervous as hell.” She was once more interrupted by thunder, which made her turn towards the windows on her left. “You also have to deal with this stuff outside . . .” She shook her head. “It’s enough to want to set you off flying before you get started.” She chuckled, noticing that none of the students joined her. Yeah, nervous bunch here. Better get their minds on something else . . .


Did I mention the storm going on outside?  Yeah, I think I have.

There are two sub-scenes for the Flight School, and I’ll probably start on the first one tonight.  This is by far one of my longest section, probably bigger than the plane ride, though I would have to check that.  And I still have the rest of the week to write out.

I have figured out where I’m going to end this part of the story and turn it into it’s own book.  Considering I crossed the seventy thousand word threshold last night, it makes sense to turn the story of their first year at school into something with more than one volume.

I just hope the other books are this long.

Yeah, sure I do.

By the Time I Get to the Galactic Rim

Yesterday, when I wasn’t wishing for the car-mounted, large-caliber weapons, needed to blow away idiot drivers on I-65, I was out among the stars.

Specifically, those stars way the hell out on the edge of our galaxy.

A very long time ago–a year or so after I started writing Transporting–I had an idea for another grand story, something of a space opera, but a little more grounded in reality.  One that dealt with a interstellar vessel that was part of a special organization that–well, to put it bluntly, they showed you the horror of war before war come a knockin’.

It’s one of those things I haven’t thought about in years.  Yet, the last couple of days, while I’m doing nothing in the writing arena, I’ve been giving the story a lot of thought.

At some point, maybe 1991, or ’92, I wrote the first three or four chapters of what would have been the first novel.  It sucked.  Trust me, I wouldn’t mislead you.  The dialog was clumsy; one of my main characters was far too hard-assed even for me; there was little motivation for why one of the main characters acted in a certain way at the end of the opening action sequence.

In short, I had no idea what I was doing, or what I was writing.

Still, the story never left me.  I started working on a time line for the story:  I think I started this in 1994, and finally finished it about 2003, 2004.  It’s a pretty good time line of the universe.  War on Earth, countries band together to form an origination known as the TSA–no, really, that’s what the tyrannical bastards are called–and the TSA is later overthrown by another group known as The Coalition, who are slightly less tyrannical, but still bastards.

The entire timeline became twelve pages, and overviewed the action in the first novel, and set up the action for the section novel.  Yeah, you heard that right:  two novels.  The entire story of this group of people would cover a trilogy, no more, no less.  And when the third novel came to an end, that would be it:  none of this, “Oh, I always envisioned it as four or five novels,” bullshit.  I know the start, the middle, and the end; it’s all in my head, all worked out.

I’d only have to write them.

Since the timeline is only twelve pages, were I to take the action all the way out to the end, I’d probably end up with eighteen or twenty pages.  That’s very likely, since I just love to get my world building out of the way so I can jump into my universe and give my characters life.

Where am I going with this story?  I don’t know–not yet.  It’s bouncing around in my head, and it’s another of those “Projects From the Past” that has never really left me.  But is there a desire to get back into it, to write the first novel, when there are other things I could work on instead?

Ah, such are the dilemmas of a writer.  You have all these things going on at the same time, and then–Wham!  You get blindsided with an idea the moment you decide you’re going to take a break.  Yet, there are no breaks when you’re a writer.  You are either writing, or editing, or thinking about either of those–or having your Muse show up at your front door, dressed like Barbarella, telling you, “Hey, I’m about to leave for HD 151985, and I need a co-pilot, you wanna come along?”  You hesitate a little, then she added, “Oh, and the ship only has one bed, I hope you don’t mind sharing–” and you’re just about ready to pack your bags . . .

Man, when you get an offer like this, it’s hard to say no.