story snippets from “that novel”

I spent part of this evening organizing my writing files (long story, bad pun, don’t ask), and found several things that I barely remembered having written, including these bits.  They’re for “that novel,” although exact placement has yet to be determined.  Plus, there’s always the chance that all of this will get lost in revisions, since Backstory Revision Syndrome is going to be an issue until my clone’s latest WIP is published, but still…

 

“What’d I tell ya?” Marten said, grinning inside his helmet. “Biggest damn thing out here — including some of the habs.”

“Don’t mean it’s got anything worth hauling back,” Shoo grumbled. “Coulda been stripped already.” He knew better, though. No one would have come out so far looking for salvage unless they already had some idea of what they’d find — no one except Marten, who a crazy even by Belter standards — and Shoo had only agreed to follow Marten back because he’d had pics to prove he’d found something. Those pics didn’t show a whole hell of a lot, no more than a spindle-ship, but spindle-ships were old tech, and rare, and one out this far that hadn’t already been found and stripped to its frame by salvagers… Hell, yeah, Shoo had been interested, even if he did pretend now to Marten that he had his doubts.

The third member of their impromptu team remained silent. Vickers had worked with Shoo before, but he knew Marten only by reputation — everyone near Circe Hab knew Marten by reputation — and while he trusted Shoo to be sensible and not take risks unless there was one whopping profit at the end of it, he didn’t think Marten had the same definition of risk — or of profit — as either Shoo or himself. That’s why Vickers had volunteered to be the one who stayed behind in their ship while the other two made an in-person assessment of the salvage — the spindle-ship — aboard sleds.

And a bit later…

“I ain’t wasting my air when there’s no need,” Marten said, and pulled off his helmet. “Smells weird…” Shoo waited for Marten to fall down dead, but he didn’t. “Kinda like… You ever been in the ‘cycler spaces of a mid-size hab? Where they grow the plants that make air outa the stuff comes down the tubes?”

“You saying the air here smells like the stuff from the tubes?” That didn’t sound weird to Shoo; it sounded foul.

“Nah. Smells like the plants. Shoo, I think we got somebody living on this ship, keeping alive by making their own air like in a hab.”

Shoo sighed. Just his luck. The one time he listens to Marten, they actually find something with huge profit potential… and it turns out someone else got to it first. Got to it long enough ago that they’d set up goddamn homesteading aboard. Belter law, such as it was, said that he and Marten had no rights to this ship or anything they found on it.

Holy fucking hell.

The names of these characters are definitely subject to change; I do remember, sort of, that I just gave them names off the top of my head so thinking up what to call them didn’t interrupt the flow of words.  I’m pretty sure I just typed this without any kind of on-the-fly editing, which is why there’s a bit of viewpoint mix-up in the first section.

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About Thomas Weaver

I’m a writer and editor who got into professional editing almost by accident years ago when a friend from university needed someone to copyedit his screenplay about giant stompy robots (mecha). Having discovered that I greatly enjoy this kind of work, I’ve been putting my uncanny knack for grammar and punctuation, along with an eclectic mental collection of facts, to good use ever since as a Wielder of the Red Pen of Doom. I'm physically disabled, and for the past several years, I’ve lived with my smugly good-looking twin Paul, who writes military science fiction and refuses to talk about his military service because he can’t. Sometimes Paul and I collaborate on stories, and sometimes I just edit whatever he writes. It's worked out rather well so far. My list of non-writing-related jobs from the past includes librarian, art model, high school teacher, science lab gofer… Although I have no spouse or offspring to tell you about, I do have six cats. (The preferred term is "Insane Cat Gentleman.") I currently spend my time blogging, reading, editing, and fending off cats who like my desk better than my twin’s.
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4 Responses to story snippets from “that novel”

  1. Some of the backstory and summary can be developed into active scenes. You also may have wanted “set up housekeeping” instead of “homesteading.” It seems like you got a pretty good look at something that was going on somewhere in the Parallel Universe. 🙂

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    • No, “homesteading” is definitely the right word here. ((From Wikipedia: “…a lifestyle of self-sufficiency… homesteading is generally differentiated from rural village or commune living by isolation… of the homestead.”) “Housekeeping” has different connotations that don’t fit.

      These are quite minor characters. Does it make sense to spend much page-space on them when they aren’t going to be around much longer? Or was I in so much of a hurry to get to “the good parts” of the story that I skimmed over important things?

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      • Isn’t it interesting, what a reader can get out of what one writes? 🙂

        I can see your point about homesteading vs. housekeeping, but my experience with the two terms is apparently different. The phrase I’m familiar with is “set up housekeeping,” which happens in a pre-existing shelter (no matter what its condition or location), which the person living there may or may not have built. It sounded as if your characters had run across somebody who had moved into the derelict ship and had done that.

        I can’t recall seeing “set up homesteading,” but only things like “to homestead,” “start homesteading,” “is homesteading,” “a homesteader,” and “the homestead.” What people were doing in that case was to build a new shelter on, and begin improving, a tract of unclaimed land they intended to legally claim as their own property. For legal reasons, it would be obvious that a homesteader was there; it wouldn’t be a clandestine existence that would only be discovered from other evidence (such as a smell).

        I guess the lesson for us is that, as the designers of our worlds in the Parallel Universe, we can define the context of the terms we use, but we have to be aware of where readers may be coming from. In a snippet this short, there’s little opportunity to pick up important details that could change the rules of engagement.

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      • If they’re very minor, throwaway characters, I wouldn’t waste any interesting backstory on them that could be more profitably used elsewhere. Readers don’t like to invest in interesting characters, only to have them turn out to be unimportant or disappear.

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